Japanese Go players "Banzuke"


I've been working for the last few months on a simulator of Japanese calligraphy which will be the subject of its own article in the future (now available here), but in the present one I'll introduce it's first significant result: the production of a "Banzuke" for Japanese Go players.

The Banzuke (番付), or Banzukehyou (番付表), is a document listing the ranking of professional Sumo wrestlers. It's written by hand using a particular design and calligraphy style which give it a very unique and gorgeous look. Even if the term "Banzuke" is strongly associated with Sumo, it simply means "ranking chart" and could apply to any other field. Actually, it has been during the Edo period to musicians, artists, etc... However I couldn't find any reference to Banzuke for Go, a game I have practiced for many years. Making a Banzuke takes a large amount of time and require expert skills in calligraphy. I lack both of them of course, but my simulator doesn't ! Hence the idea to use it to produce a Japanese Go players Banzuke.

I've used the players information available on the website of the Japanese Federation of Go, and created the design by taking freely inspiration from Sumo's Banzuke. My version has the list of male/female title holders at the top, followed by players' name, grouped by dan, decreasing from top to bottom. There are too many titles to list them all, so I choosed to include only the major ones (棋聖, 名人, 本因坊, 王座, 天元, 碁聖, 十段 for men, and 棋聖, 名人, 本因坊, 立葵, 最強 for women). The player's name is preceded by the player's affiliation (東京本院, 関西総本部, 中部総本部). To reflect the rank importance, the sections for 6 dan players and below are half in size compare to the section for 7 dan and 8 dan, which are in turn half in size compare to the section for 9 dan. The calligraphy style also varies with the sections. Within a same dan, players are ordered by their year of accession to that dan. The central column contains the title and date, and is decorated with a motif representing the traditional Go board's feet. The title of each section is written at their edge.

Producing new, up to date, versions of this Banzuke is quite easy: I just need to maintain a text file containing the necessary data and let my software render the new Banzuke. Of course I intend to do it and update the image below with the newest version regularly. At what frequency ? This will mainly depend of my motivation, i.e. your interest. So, if you like this project, notice a mistake, have a question, want to comment, or whatever, just send me an email !

(Click on the image below to enlarge)

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