About Kisei

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 Qisheng; Korean: Kisung).

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.

So far,

Kobayashi Koichi

‘s eight consecutive titles and

Fujisawa Hideyuki

‘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!

All editions of Kisei

Type Edition Year Country First Place Second Place Details
title 26th 2002 Japan O Rissei Ryu Shikun Games
title 25th 2001 Japan O Rissei Cho Sonjin Games
title 24th 2000 Japan O Rissei Cho Chikun Games
title 23th 1999 Japan Cho Chikun Kobayashi Koichi Games
title 22th 1998 Japan Cho Chikun Yoda Norimoto Games
title 21th 1997 Japan Cho Chikun Kobayashi Satoru Games
title 20th 1996 Japan Cho Chikun Kobayashi Satoru Games
title 19th 1995 Japan Kobayashi Satoru Cho Chikun Games
title 18th 1994 Japan Cho Chikun Kobayashi Koichi Games
title 17th 1993 Japan Kobayashi Koichi Kato Masao Games
title 16th 1992 Japan Kobayashi Koichi Yamashiro Hiroshi Games
title 15th 1991 Japan Kobayashi Koichi Kato Masao Games
title 14th 1990 Japan Kobayashi Koichi Otake Hideo Games
title 13th 1989 Japan Kobayashi Koichi Takemiya Masaki Games
title 12th 1988 Japan Kobayashi Koichi Kato Masao Games
title 11th 1987 Japan Kobayashi Koichi Takemiya Masaki Games
title 10th 1986 Japan Kobayashi Koichi Cho Chikun Games
title 9th 1985 Japan Cho Chikun Takemiya Masaki Games
title 8th 1984 Japan Cho Chikun Rin Kaiho Games
title 7th 1983 Japan Cho Chikun Fujisawa Hideyuki Games
title 6th 1982 Japan Fujisawa Hideyuki Rin Kaiho Games
title 5th 1981 Japan Fujisawa Hideyuki Otake Hideo Games
title 4th 1980 Japan Fujisawa Hideyuki Rin Kaiho Games
title 3rd 1979 Japan Fujisawa Hideyuki Ishida Yoshio Games
title 2nd 1978 Japan Fujisawa Hideyuki Kato Masao Games
title 1st 1977 Japan Fujisawa Hideyuki Hashimoto Utaro Games
title 27th 2003 Japan Yamashita Keigo O Rissei Games
title 28th 2004 Japan Hane Naoki Yamashita Keigo Games
title 29th 2005 Japan Hane Naoki Yuki Satoshi Games
title 30th 2006 Japan Yamashita Keigo Hane Naoki Games
title 31th 2007 Japan Yamashita Keigo Kobayashi Satoru Games
title 32th 2008 Japan Yamashita Keigo Cho Chikun Games
title 33th 2009 Japan Yamashita Keigo Yoda Norimoto Games
title 34th 2010 Japan Cho U Yamashita Keigo Games
title 35th 2011 Japan Cho U Iyama Yuta Games
title 36th Japan Games