Title: Castle Games Records
御城碁譜 (Oshiro Gofu)
The Castle Games 御城碁 (Oshirogo) were played in the Shogun’s castle during the Edo period from 1626 – 1863. It was an official match played by representatives of the four go houses (Hon’inbo, Hayashi, Inoue, and Yasui) in the castle of the shogun. The games themselves were bitterly contested, since the castle games not only dealt with the status of the individual players but also had a major effect on the prestige of the four houses. One of the greatest go players, Shusaku, is mainly celebrated for his undefeated record in the castle games. Throughout the Tokugawa shogunate there was an ongoing struggle amongst the houses to take control of the official positions of Meijin and godokoro. The game series was suspended in 1862 as the political situation became tense. Apart from one 1863 game between Hayashi Hakuei and Yasui Sanei, it was never resumed.
The Castle Games Records, in 10 traditionally bound volumes, was edited in 1950-1951 by Segoe Kensaku (瀬越憲作). First published by 御城碁譜整理配布委員会 (Oshiro Gofu Seiri Hanpu Iinkai) in 1951 (昭和26) and later by 誠文堂新光社 (Seibundo-Shinkosha) in 1978 (昭和53) The version I own is from 1951. The Publisher Recommended Price is unknown for the 1951 version. For the 1978 version, the Publisher Recommended Price is JPY65,000.
Each 1951 version set has an original calligraphy by Segoe Kensaku on the box. I have seen pictures of different sets of the 1951 version and Segoe wrote different calligraphy words for most of these sets. I have however seen a calligraphy phrase repeated in pictures of two different sets but the calligraphy has slight variations. So it shows that all these sets are personally written by Segoe rather than printed.
The 1978 version does not however benefit from his calligraphy as he had already passed away in 1972.
The Castle Games Records is amongst the most collectable sets of go books but has long been out of print. According to John Fairbairn, the shogi professional Yonenaga Kunio, when he won his first shogi prizemoney, spent it all on a set of the Castle Games.