The Kisei title is sponsored by the newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun, it is so far the highest prized and the grandest Go event in Japan. The word Kisei means Go Sage and has traditionally been regarded as a supreme accolade for a go player. It goes back almost 2,000 years to Han times in China (as
The title holder is challenged in January-March by a challenger who is the winner of a complex year-long qualification system designed to give lower ranked players their moments of glory. In the past, the preliminary was held on each dan level, since 2001, there was a significant change, all players regardless of ranks participate in a knockout preliminary. The advanced 12 players are divided into two groups, players in each group then play each other once, the winners from each group compete for the final challenger.
In the final (best-of-seven) each player has 8 hours thinking time over two days. Each game of the final is played in a different city. In all other games thinking time is 5 hours each. Komi is 5.5 points.
In Term 1, the champion prize was 17 million Japanese Yen and increased to 33 million Yen later, since 2000, the champion prize and game fees were combined together, the total champion prize reaches a record of 42 million Yen (about US$ 398 thousands) and becomes the highest prized Go tournament in the world, about equal to the prize fund of Ing Cup.
's eight consecutive titles and
's six consecutive titles in this event gave both players Honorary Kisei. Fujisawa, 9p was very famous because of the Kisei tournament. He won it 6-times straight, but his results in other tournaments were bad. He spent most of his time for drinking sake, online gambling and other games, but he stopped all these bad habbits once a year, when he defended his Kisei match!