Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $14.95
  • Save: $5.35 (36%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 13 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
The Master of Go has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: tight binding, show some signs of shelf wear
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Master of Go Paperback – May 28, 1996

4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.60
$6.50 $0.54

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$9.60 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 13 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Master of Go
  • +
  • Snow Country
  • +
  • The Sound of the Mountain
Total price: $29.76
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

"This novel is one of modern literature's greatest, most poignant elegies" Washington Post "Kawabata's narrative spirals through the book's events in ruminative glides and turns... There is a kind of low-key daring, an austere, autumnal nobility, in Kawabata's tale" Time "An archetypal saga... there are storms and landscapes as cool, as luminous, as any in Japanese paintings and woodcuts" The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (May 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679761063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679761068
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bob Newman VINE VOICE on July 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
In 1938, a go match was played over six months in 14 sessions at several different locations in Japan. The opponents were the grand master, Shusai, and Otake, a younger professional challenger. Kawabata, then 39 years old, was the newspaper reporter who covered the match for Tokyo and Osaka newspapers. After the war, he turned his reportage into a novel which still retains much of the feeling of reports. If you don't know the game of `go', played with white and black stones on a board, or if you are not at all familiar with Japanese culture, then this book is probably not a good place to begin. However, if that is not the case, then Kawabata's subtle depiction of many themes in Japanese culture and in human life, may give you pleasure. The sick old man versus the young one. Life versus death, even. The author wrote"From the way of Go, the beauty of Japan and the Orient had fled. Everything had become science and regulation." (p.52) Players worried about points, not elegance or dignity. Otake represents the new, the ambitious, the unrefined; the old master all that was vanishing, all that Kawabata mourned. As a novel about an arcane contest which still can bring out all these important, even universal, themes, THE MASTER OF GO is an amazing feat. If this sounds interesting, give it a try. You definitely won't find another novel like it ! Kawabata certainly deserved the Nobel Prize.
Comment 69 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
If another writer has written "The Master of Go", a true story about the competition between the "invincible" Master of Go and a much-younger opponent in the Master's retirement match, and intense single game that lasted for more than six-months, perhaps they could have used the game to launch a sweeping metaphor of the fading Meji-era of Japan giving way to the modern era, or a struggle of youth and age or something of the sort. The game itself might have taken second seat to whatever greater picture the author painted.
Instead, because this is Kawabata, we have an intimate portrait of three people, the two players and the author himself, basic and alive and honest human beings. Of course, there is a bit of metaphor and conclusions can be drawn, but ultimately the three people do not require any grandeur beyond there immediate status as human beings. It is enough.
The Master of Go himself, the highest available rank in the official Go association, is a portrait of obsession and dedication. He is only comfortable playing games, and even amidst his failing health and the demands of his retirement challenge, he ensnares anyone around him in any game possible, be in Mah Jong or Billiards. His opponent, a young yet high ranking challenger, has fought his way through a year-long tournament for the honor of being the opponent in the Master's final match. High strung, and with health issues of his own, he brings everything he has to defeat the Master in his last game. The author, a newspaper reporter assigned to cover the match which is being sponsored by his paper, unable to penetrate the minds of the two players, lays open his own feelings and interpretations while retaining a newspaperman's eye for reporting facts rather than speculation.
Read more ›
Comment 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Kawabata is more difficult to translate into english than say someone like Mishima. He lets us view a pre-war Japan mind set that can sometimes seem a little alien to the westerner. This is his difficulty and his genius. The courtly aristocratic Go master playing against the much younger more modern challenger lets us see in microcosm the change in Japan from the pre-war aristocracy to a more egalitarian society. Kawabata is careful to show good and bad sides of both these individual Go players. Much is lost and a little is gained in this transistion for Japan. That is the impression Kawabata gives in this narrative of a late 1930s Go championship game. This novel is mostly non fiction and is told in a light aesthetic style. In reading this I am reminded a little of the 1972 Fischer vs Spassky Chess match in Iceland. The disagreements in this Go match of course were nothing to compare to that famous Chess match. The author was covering this Go match for a newspaper and he was on the scene as an eye-witness, because of this the narrative carries a sense of reality not often found in fiction. Quite simply a mesmerizing read.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I've read many books in my life, but none of them surpass the beauty, elegance, and creativity embodied in "The Master of Go." I believe this book is one of the best-written of the 20th century! I also believe the game of Go is the best game ever invented! It's unfortunate that so few Westerners have been exposed to them both.
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Kawabata's beautiful narrative mirrors the direction of east asian culture, and perhaps world culture at large, where the refinements and subtle ways of the fallen aristocracy is giving way to mean, crude, egalitarian rules and regulations designed for modern day mass production and consumption.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
According to the introduction to the book there is a word in Japanese (shōsetsu - literally: "short story") which means a fictionalized account of an historical happening. The degree to which the account has been turned into fiction is left vague. The Master of Go is a shōsetsu of a famous "retirement" game of Go between the aged Master (Honinbō Shūsai) and the young Challenger (Minoru Kitani). The game was played, and the book is set, in 1938.

The account given by Kawabata of the contestants, the contest, and the context is sensitive and beautifully rendered. He provides a wonderful commentary on events as they unfold over the course of the six months of the game.

Just as in the game of Go itself, there are patterns within patterns and many levels of complexity in the narrative. For example, although the rules under which the game is conducted have been agreed beforehand there is a continual bargaining and negotiation between the players as the game progresses over how to run the game itself in the light of the Master's failing health and the Challenger's own health problems. This forms an alternative contest within a contest where dignity and honor are at stake with both contestants offering to forfeit the game at different times as a ploy to get their own way.

Kawabata provides many poignant touches of descriptive color which punctuate the story of the game. Anyone familiar with haiku poetry will recognize immediately the inspiration behind these short, exquisitely-crafted interludes.

If the book was simply an account of a game of Go it would be of limited interest. What makes the book so compelling is to degree to which the culture and mores of Go are intimately intertwined with the culture and mores of Japan at a critical moment of Japan's history and evolution.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Master of Go
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Master of Go

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?