Manga: Game 001
|棋聖降臨||Descent of the Go Master|
|Descent of the Go Master|
|Résurrection d'un génie du go|
|51 pages, 4 colour|
|Weekly Shounen Jump|
|1999 No. 2・3
Featured on the cover
Material from this chapter was adapted into the anime episode Game 1.
Shindou Hikaru finds an old goban in his grandfather's storehouse. He can see upon it stains that no one else can see, and upon touching it can hear a voice no one else can hear. He passes out, and when he wakes up he is haunted by Fujiwara no Sai, the ghost of a Heian-era go instructor.
Upon Sai's urging, Hikaru attempts to play a game of go against his grandfather and is thoroughly confused by Sai's instructions.
Hikaru discovers that Sai's knowledge of history can help him in school, and in return decides to learn the basics of go.
Hikaru finds an old goban and figures it must be valuable. He tries and fails to wipe a stain off of the goban. When he points out the stain to Akari, she denies being able to see it. Hikaru hears a voice asking him if he can see it; when he confirms he can, the voice asks if its voice can be heard. Hikaru starts to worry that someone else is in the storehouse, perhaps his grandfather. Akari starts to get anxious because Hikaru is acting strangely, and says she's going to go home. An apparition appears in front of Hikaru, enters Hikaru's consciousness, and Hikaru passes out. Akari stops to check on Hikaru, sees him lying unconscious on the floor, and calls his grandfather for help.
During a social studies test in school the next day, the voice perks up when it notices that Hikaru's test has questions about history on it. Hikaru has an outburst, which is disclaimed by Akari who tells the teacher that Hikaru fainted yesterday and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Hikaru tells the voice not to speak unless spoken to, and asks its name. The voice identifies itself as Fujiwara no Sai, who explains that he had been a go instructor to the Emperor during the Heian period. There was another instructor, Sugawara no Akitada, who suggested to the Emperor one day that there was no need for two instructors, and that he and Sai should play a game to determine who should keep his position.
During the game, which had been evenly matched, Sai, playing white, noticed that Sugawara, playing black, cheated by placing an extra white stone with his prisoners. Just as Sai was about to announce Sugawara's treachery, Sugawara accused Sai instead. As no one saw what had happened, the Emperor called for the game to continue. Unable to regain his composure, Sai lost the game, losing his position as go instructor, and was expelled from the capital for his alleged cheating. With no other means to live, Sai drowned himself two days later.
Wanting to play more go, Sai's soul did not pass on, instead sheltering itself within the goban upon which he had played his last game. Many years passed until one day he heard the voice of a child asking why no one else but he could see the tear-stains upon the goban. Sai was able to manifest to the child and find a space for himself inside a corner of the child's heart.
The child was Kuwabara Torajirou, and he became known as Hon'inbou Shuusaku, the best go player of the Edo period. At the age of 34 Shuusaku became mortally ill with cholera, and died spewing his blood over the surface of his goban. Sai's soul housed itself within the blood-stained goban, where it lay dormant until Hikaru found the goban 136 years later.
Sai explains that his soul cannot rest until he attains the Kami no Itte. Hikaru says that's too bad, since unlike Torajirou he has no intention of playing go. Sai's sorrow overwhelms Hikaru, manifesting in nausea, and Hikaru flees the classroom to vomit in the hallway sink.
Hikaru reconsiders, not wanting to be killed by a grudgeful spirit, and says that they can play go or whatever.
Hikaru goes to his grandfather's after school. His grandfather assumes he's here to visit his grandmother, and tells Hikaru that she's out shopping. Hikaru tells him that he's learning how to play go, and challenges him to a game. Since Hikaru assumes that Sai is probably skilled, he bets ￥1000 on the outcome. His grandfather gets excited and goes off to get out the board. Hikaru calls his mother to let her know that he's going to be at his grandfather's for a bit.
Hikaru's grandfather offers to let him put down as many stones as he wants. Hikaru is confused; Sai explains that the weaker player is allowed to place stones as a handicap to create a more even match.
Hikaru asks his grandfather if he's really that good; Hikaru's grandfather responds by showing Hikaru his collection of trophies, awards, and certificates won over his years of amateur play.
Hikaru declines the handicap. His grandfather tells him that's fine, and to begin playing. Hikaru selects the white stones; his grandfather tells him that black always starts, and questions if Hikaru really knows how to play. Hikaru tells him to go first.
Sai begins to weep. Hikaru recognizes Sai's happiness at being able to play after so long, and thinks that maybe playing go sometimes is fine after all.
Hikaru's grandfather opens on hoshi. Sai finds it surprising, as such a thing wasn't done in Shuusaku's time. Hikaru loses confidence in Sai, thinking that while Sai may have been good back in the day, maybe his go is too outdated for the modern era.
Sai calls out moves. Hikaru is confused, lacking knowledge of the terms of art used by Sai, and takes a long time to place his stones. His grandfather becomes impatient. Hikaru gets more and more flustered with each stone. After five moves his grandfather ends the game, telling Hikaru to come back in half a year.
That night at home in his bedroom, Hikaru apologizes to Sai and starts to tell him sorry, he won't be playing go again, but Sai is overcome with misery, causing sympathetic nausea in Hikaru.
Hikaru tells Sai that he has to do the revisions to his social studies test for tomorrow, so Hikaru is the one who is entitled to want to cry. Hikaru asks if Sai knows anything about the Tenpou Reform. Sai in fact does, and together they work through the revisions to Hikaru's test.
Hikaru asks Sai if he knows why he was drawn to Hikaru, who doesn't even play go. Sai responds that he would also like to know why, and both despair. Hikaru thinks that he could look into taking a class or something to learn the basics about go.
Hikaru goes to the community centre and attends a class held by Shirakawa Michio, but is bored since he can't follow the lecture. Sai wonders about the instructor's skill level. Hikaru says that he's a pro, and explains that a pro makes a living earning money through go.
After the lecture, the students play games. Shirakawa greets Hikaru as a newcomer and asks him what got him interested in go. Hikaru disclaims that he's not really interested in go, and just thought he should learn the basics about go since his test scores are going to improve.
Shirakawa proposes playing a stone-capturing game to learn a teensy bit of the basics.
Akari goes to the Shindou residence to inquire if Hikaru's home. Hikaru's mother hedges, worrying Akari, but she clarifies that Hikaru has started attending a weekly go class, and that it seems he went to play go at his grandfather's house, and wonders what's going on with him. Akari is surprised.
Shirakawa finishes showing Hikaru how stones are captured, and advises him to spend the rest of the hour observing other players. As he goes around the room, Hikaru hears two people gossiping about Akota, who is bullying a weaker player again. Sai has spotted the man, and affirms that he is indeed playing cruel go, playing without mercy.
Hikaru notices that Akota is wearing a toupée.
Sai tells Hikaru that he cannot endure it, and tells Hikaru to switch places with the bullied player so that Sai can play through Hikaru and show Akota what it is like to be on the receiving end of such play. Hikaru lacks confidence in Sai's ability to play go against modern play, and tells Sai that he's going to take care of it.
Hikaru dumps a goke of white stones on Akota's head, and when he pulls it away he pulls Akota's toupée with it. Akota flees, humiliated. Shirakawa lectures Hikaru, instructing him to apologize to him next week.
Hikaru asks Shirakawa if he's heard of someone named Fujiwara no Sai. Shirakawa hasn't, and asks if he is connected to go. Hikaru tells him it's nothing, and leaves.
On his way out, Hikaru meets a middle-aged lady who asks him if he's in sixth grade. Hikaru confirms. She tells him that she's new as well, having started only last month. Hikaru says then she and he are rivals, aren't they, and she confirms, laughing.
An older man stops to compliment Shirakawa on his easy-to-understand lectures, then asks him who he thinks is the strongest go player of all time. Shirakawa says that he was just reading an interesting article in which a reporter asked a shogi player who was the strongest shogi player of all time. The player replied that he thought Habu was, but that if you asked ten different players then you'd get ten answers. The reporter had a chance to ask the same thing of a go player. The current top player is three-title holder Touya Meijin. The number one top young player might be Kurata 4-dan, or possibly Ogata 9-dan. But the asked player answered instantly that the strongest go player of all time was the Edo period's Hon'inbou Shuusaku.
- Hikaru is in class 6-1 in an unnamed elementary school.
- Shindou Heihachi has won many awards for amateur go, including one for winning the Third Neighbourhood Go Tournament.
- Hikaru has a small CRT TV in his room, and many issues of Weekly Shounen Jump in his bookcase.
|Sugawara no Akitada||Fujiwara no Sai||B+|
|Shindou Heihachi||Shindou Hikaru (Fujiwara no Sai)||Not completed|
Appearing or Referenced
|Shindou Heihachi's storehouse|
|Shindou Hikaru's elementary school|
|Shindou Heihachi's residence|