Scouting for girls

We have only just learned of a free, high-quality go magazine in Japan. It's aimed at 20 and 30-year-olds, and mainly women it seems, but the concept will be of interest to a much wider audience.


We don't yet know a lot about it, but it has been running since 2008 under an organisation called Igo Amigo. This organisation appears to rely a lot on volunteer help from pros, both for the magazine and for go-teaching events in parks and the like.

The magazine, Goteki - Issue 4 is shown above - appears once a year and is published in various formats. 40,000 copies of the paper version are issued, but there are also e-book and printable versions online. All are free. The magazine is put together by an editorial team of girls under editor Iwamoto Mariko. We don't know the business plan, but they already enjoy some significant advertising and they say they are building on a go boom in Japan (a boom we have seen claimed elsewhere) and on female successes such as those of Joanne Missingham (Hei Jiajia) in Taiwan and internationally.

Apart from support from go pros and entertainment stars, go - and Igo Amigo - has benefited from support from politicians. Outgoing prime minister Kan Naoto is a huge go fan and used go in his diplomacy with Korea. However, part of the mission of Igo Amigo is to try to break down the idea that go is an old man's game, so this sort of support stays hidden. What Igo Amigo wants in general is for young people to become Go Freaks or, in the current issue of Goteki, Go Girls. They trendily use the English in both cases.

The name Goteki likewise appears to be a pun of sorts on the English word "take" as in "take this magazine for free". The cover of the 2011 issue features actress Minamizawa Nao, who is only 21 but has already established a busy career in both tv and movies. Also mentioned is go pro Mannami Nao, leading to the theme "the two Naos" or "double Nao".

You can read more about Igo Amigo on http://www.igoamigo.com/ and the Goteki #4 site, where you can download the magazine, is at http://www.goteki.jp/.

Don't expect to learn anything about go, but you will learn about the best false fingernails to wear when playing go, what wedding dresses are suitable for go ladies, and what women can look for in various types of "Go men". Go men looking for titillation won't find much, although there are certainly some tasteful photos of very attractive go girls.

What this all seems to be about in a nutshell is making go the latest must-have accessory. Go is the new black and white!


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