Otake Hideo, popular among go players for his thick style of play, also called the ’Otake aesthetic,’ retired on December 15, 2021. Aged 79, he holds the Honorary Gosei title.
Mr Otake said that he made his decision to retire in November and informed his family. His reason: ’When I face the go board, the variations that I think up are more meager than what I aspire to.’ Next year, he will turn 80, but he seems to believe that it’s better to retire before reaching that landmark.
In 1951, at the age of nine, he became a disciple of the late Kitani Minoru 9-dan.
In 1975, he won the Meijin title from Ishida Shuho, 24th Honinbo, a junior fellow disciple of Kitani, and held it for a total of four terms. He also did well in other tournaments, winning among others the Gosei title for six years in a row and the Judan title five times. Together with his great rival Rin Kaiho, honourary Tengen, who was also born in May 1942, he built the ’Chikurin (=Otake/Rin) Age’.
When queried about his retiring before Rin, he responded: ’If he had not existed, I would not have become what I did.’
From 2008 to 2012, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nihon Ki-In. During that period, from 2009 to 2010, he also served as president of the International Go Federation, and from 2010 to 2011 as president of the All Japan Federation of Go, which was founded by three bodies: the Nihon Ki-In, the Kansai Ki-In, and the Japan Pair Go Association. During his term of office, the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, were held in November 2010, with go players competing for the first time.
Asked about retirement plans, he answered with a smile: ’I want to travel all over Japan, holding exchange with local people and spreading the enjoyment of go.’
- Born in North Kyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, on May 12, 1942.
- Became a disciple of the late Kitani Minoru 9-dan at the age of nine. Became professional 1-dan in 1961.
- Won his first title in 1969, taking the Judan title from the late Sakata Eio.
- Has won 48 titles, fifth in the all-time list, including the Meijin title four times, the Gosei title seven times, the Judan title five times, etc. His lifetime results are 1319 wins (fourth highest in Japan), 846 losses, five jigo, and one no-contest.
- In 2004, he was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon and in 2015 the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.
Photos by Nihon Ki-In