Wasabi Stories vol.46: “Don’t Run Away but Confront it”


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“Don’t Run Away but Confront it”

Today’s story teller is a professional GO (IGO) player, [W:Yukari Umezawa].

“If a child starts a lesson in something at age of 6 year and 6 months, the child will continue it for a long time.”

Following this Japanese custom, she started igo when she was 6 years old.

First she learned from her father and when she was 14, she became a pupil of Master Kato.

Although she had been smoothly gaining skills until then, she went in a slump.


While some people pass the professional exam within one to two years, she took eight years to pass.

The master didn’t say so much to her and never scolded her but just watch her matches and gave one or two advice.

Only once when the master seriously talked to her was when she was 19 years old.

She worried herself because she failed the exam again and also she had to leave the training school because of her age.

“I always got in bad condition before important matches and got nervous and lost the matches. I was scared to take exams, so I wrote a letter saying,‘I am mentally weak and don’t think I can become a professional. I want to quit.’”

“Master Kato talked his experience that he lost eight straight at for title matches and encouraged me ‘you’ll get over too’. That was the only time I talked with the Master one by one. That’s why the word gave weigh to me.”


She still worried herself till she became 20 years old, when her father passed away.

His death made her face the difficulty more seriously.

Finally when she was 22 years old, she passed the professional exam.

Before she passed the exam, there was opinion from some people around her to let her pass the exam by recommendation because she was equipped to be a professional, but the master firmly refused as “it’s meaningless unless she wins by her own.”


Umezawa’s word,

“If I became professional by recommendation, I couldn’t overcome my weakness. I confronted the exam that I wanted to run away from, and won all my matches to be a professional. It gave me confident.”

The NIKKEI Jun/4/2009 by Yukari Umezawa (Professional go player)


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