Kato Masao

Kato Masao 9d
1947 ~ 2004
I first met Kato Masao, writes John Fairbairn, when I was introduced to him by John Power as the person who had translated his Attack and Kill. This was in the middle of a pedestrian crossing in Tokyo, so it was by necessity a very brief meeting. But he did offer genially to buy me a drink, before he went off with his companions. Ishida Yoshio and Takemiya Masaki.

The next time I met him was, however, too many years later, at a Meijin title game in Amsterdam. Once again he was with Ishida and Takemiya. It struck me then what a close bond they all had. Still, Kato was the quiet one, the serious one, I felt. Maybe for that reason he made the most impact on me.

When the awful news about Kato's death came in, there was a flood of tributes, not just in the go press but also in the national press. He had achieved so much it was easy to write about him.

But there was one article which struck me as capturing the true spirit of the Kato I knew oh so briefly. It was warm, affectionate, intimate, funny, honest, loving. It was by Ishida Yoshio. Only he could have written it.

I asked the Nihon Ki-in for permission to translate this piece, which appeared in Gekkan Go World in the March 2005 edition. Through the kind intervention of Shigeno Yuki, we can now offer it to the many, many people in the West who admired Kato. Most know about him only from his games. This may help to show the west a wider spectrum of his attractive personality.

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