The Sankei Shimbun is one of Japan's foremost newspapers and long-time sponsor of the Judan. Its evening edition, the Yukan Fuji, also sponsors the Women's Meijin. Over two million subscribers a day get a chance to read about the Judan, and since the readership is largely in the older age brackets, it presumably does no harm when older players do well in their newspaper's main event, as is happening at present.
Nevertheless, the Sankei is actually a rather go-ahead paper. It was the first major daily in Japan to go electronic. It was also kind enough to offer the western go audience a ringside seat throughout the latest title match.
Our regular contributor Pieter Mioch, a former insei, was invited by the Sankei to attend Game 2 of the 45th Judan match between holder Cho Chikun and the current Kisei, Yamashita Keigo, on 29 March 2007. The venue was the venerable Ginpaso Hotel in Nishimura Spa, close to Gamagori City in Central Japan.
The Ginpaso has seen many classic go battles. Was this to be another? We provided Pieter with a new ball-point pen and asked him to find out.
Hmm. Couldn't they have given me a pen that works?