Shogi

8 Mar 2017

Five Reasons to Recommend Shogi to Girls

We hold “I-tsu-tsu Kids Shogi Lesson 101 for Parents and Children,” a series of six lessons, at Senkawa Culture Centre in Chofu City, Tokyo from February 3. To my surprise, out of eight participants, six of them are girls.

When I was a child, I was surrounded by boys and men in Shogi classes and practice halls. My sister was the only girl besides me, and I felt a little lonely. So, I am very happy to see that more girls show interest in Shogi now.

So, I would like to talk about five reasons to recommend Shogi to girls on today’s article to encourage more and more girls to start learning Shogi.

1. Girls are equal to boys.

Girls can beat even adult men.
Girls can beat even adult men.

Although there are individual differences, boys’ average scores are usually better than girls’ in athletics such as a 50 meter race or a long throw. We may have to admit such facts, but I would say that it is demotivating that girls cannot catch up with boys despite their efforts.

However, in the world of Shogi, physical strength gap between males and females does not matter.
The more efforts you make, the better results you can attain. Shogi is a fair game for both boys and girls. (Every strong player works hard, so it may come to be even more difficult to be better once you reach a certain level.)

As frequently mentioned on this blog, Shogi is a sport for your mind and you feel like your brain is sweating. Therefore, you need fairly good mind strength, and you need to keep that in your mind.

2. Communication tool between fathers and daughters

Shogi can be a common hobby between fathers and daughters
Shogi can be a common hobby between fathers and daughters

Girls somehow tend to have fewer opportunities to communicate with fathers in adolescence.
Some girls in Japan make harsh comments like “Don’t wash my underwear together with dad’s!”
Not a few daddies miss the good old days when their girls were small and cute.

So, why don’t you teach Shogi to girls while they are young and enjoy your company? I suppose many fathers know basic rules of Shogi as they played it with friends in their childhood.

I believe that a common hobby works well to lubricate communication between parents and children regardless of their age.

I often see a pair of father and daughter in my Shogi class for parents and children. Those fathers really look happy playing Shogi with daughters, and they make me smile.

For your information, I myself often talked a lot with my father through playing Shogi.
I guess the reason #2 is more like for fathers rather than girls.

3. Various cute items for Shogi

Girls always want to keep their favorite items beside them.
Girls always want to keep their favorite items beside them.

Girls love cute and fancy items, and to be surrounded by those regardless of their age.

When you look at Shogi equipment, however, what do you think about its designs? We can say that its design is sophisticated and refined, but looks old-fashioned from girls’ perspective.

Actually, however, every Shogi equipment does not look old-fashioned. There are quite a few cute and fashionable design items.

We also offer various cute Shogi goods in our I-tsu-tsu-boshi Selection. Please check them out!
We developed all our products taking children’s viewpoints into consideration.

4. Shogi can be a communication tool when you start working

Girls will also fly to the outer world, and start working both in and out of Japan once they have grown up. Then, if they can find a common topic between them and business counterparts, it can be a strong weapon for them.

Now, let’s look back what we talked about Shogi previously. Shogi has many brothers in the world such as Caturaṅga in India, Xiàngqí in China, and chess in the West. Furthermore, Shogi is an effective generation-free communication tool that everybody from a young child to a grandfather can enjoy.

Shogi can help you to build better human relations with various people from both in and out of Japan.

5. You may become good at arithmetic

You may become good at arithmetic with Shogi.
You may become good at arithmetic with Shogi.

A questionnaire was implemented on professional Shogi players once.
It asked “What did you become good at after learning Shogi?” “Arithmetic” was the top answer, and “mental arithmetic” was the second.

Yoshiharu Habu, the permanent Meijin, also stated that arithmetic was very similar to Tsume-Shogi (Mate problem) when he was asked about relation between Shogi and arithmetic in a dialogue with Kenichiro Mogi, a neuroscientist.

Although there are individual differences, it is generally said that girls are not good at math and science-related subjects compared to boys in Japan.

Reference: Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 Results
http://www.oecd.org/pisa/

Considering the above, girls may become good at arithmetic by playing Shogi.

As mentioned earlier, there were almost no girls found in Shogi practice halls or classes in old days. Girls did not play Shogi even at regular schools.
Therefore, some girls and their parents might have hesitated to play Shogi in the past probably.
However, as time goes by, Shogi environment for girls has been changing gradually.

I have talked about reasons to recommend Shogi to girls. However, the top reason why I want girls to play Shogi is simply because it is fun!
Overall Shogi is still considered as a boys’ game. However, once the charm of Shogi spreads among girls, I am sure that Shogi turns to be a fun game that girls also enjoy.

AuthorAkiko Nakakura

I-tsu-tsu Co. Ltd. President, lady's professional shogi player. After winning successive victories in the female amateur master’s tournament in 1991 and 1992, she made her debut as a professional shogi player in her third (last) year in high school. She retired from professional shogi play after a 21-year career in March 2015, and currently involved in activities to spread the game of shogi among children.

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