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Subject: Okinawans making moves to keep ‘chunji’ chess alive rss

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Russ Williams
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http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703080003.html

asahi.com wrote:
Chunji is the Okinawan equivalent of shogi, which is known as Japanese chess.

The traditional game lost ground to shogi after World War II, partly because Okinawans abandoned their own culture to assimilate into Japan’s main islands, according to Akira Nakamura at the Research Institute of Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts.

Only dozens of people were playing chunji in 2011, but Nakamura and others have led efforts to keep the game alive over the past five years or so by initiating locals, particularly young people, into it.

Yamashiro is attending a weekly chunji class in the city of Okinawa. The four-hour session held every Saturday afternoon started last spring.

Yamashiro’s “friend,” Morihiro Kyan, 71, is a self-appointed chunji missionary.

“I am working out of sheer desire to spread our proud traditional culture,” he said.

The game was introduced from China by the 15th century, at the latest, when the southwestern islands were ruled by the Ryukyu Kingdom. It is essentially the same as xianqgi, which is played across the Chinese-speaking region.


I thought it was an interesting article, and the idea of consciously preserving an abstract strategy game as part of one's cultural heritage is not something I see every day. Usually this sort of article about some members of an assimilated culture trying to preserve their own traditions would be about a language, or perhaps a dance or music or clothing tradition or something similar.

There are thousands of new games published every year nowadays. I wonder how many of them will arouse enough passion in future players like this, that they will work hard to keep the game from dying off.

---

I did a bit of searching for "Chunji" and could not find any info (other than this recent news). Has anyone heard of it?
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christian freeling
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russ wrote:
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703080003.html

I thought it was an interesting article, and the idea of consciously preserving an abstract strategy game as part of one's cultural heritage is not something I see every day. Usually this sort of article about some members of an assimilated culture trying to preserve their own traditions would be about a language, or perhaps a dance or music or clothing tradition or something similar.

There are thousands of new games published every year nowadays. I wonder how many of them will arouse enough passion in future players like this, that they will work hard to keep the game from dying off.

---

I did a bit of searching for "Chunji" and could not find any info (other than this recent news). Has anyone heard of it?


I've often wondered how Shogi evolved. XiangQi > Shatransj > Chess, that's an understandable evolution, but where did those paratroopers drop in? In any case, Chunji is certainly not "the Okinawan equivalent of Shogi", or XiangQi would be "the Chinese equivalent of Shogi". The differences with XiangQi would seem marginal, although there must be some. The quote

Quote:
The game was introduced from China by the 15th century, at the latest, when the southwestern islands were ruled by the Ryukyu Kingdom. It is essentially the same as xianqgi, which is played across the Chinese-speaking region.

also suggests that.
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Thanks for finding this, russ. Was the news about Ströbeck's similar attempts to preserve its intangible chess heritage also shared on here? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/07/germany-chess-...
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flahr wrote:
Thanks for finding this, russ. Was the news about Ströbeck's similar attempts to preserve its intangible chess heritage also shared on here? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/07/germany-chess-...

I found a nice picture of it.

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christianF wrote:

I found a nice picture of it.


If you need to find a board to play this on, the wooden board found in Pathwayz has just the right demensions -- 12 x 8 checkered squares.
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Quote:
There are thousands of new games published every year nowadays. I wonder how many of them will arouse enough passion in future players like this, that they will work hard to keep the game from dying off.


This question fascinates me. This will sound odd, but I'd love to see a sudden stoppage of all all game publishing for a few years. I'd love to see what games people would settle on without the constant commercial assault.

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Best I could find was at this site:

http://toybox.tea-nifty.com/memo/2011/08/post-1fe0.html

The relevant bit is here:

Quote:
「沖縄の将棋。シャンチー(中国将棋)と同じ道具を使い、下記の例外以外シャンチーと同じ遊び方をする。
 1.駒は赤と白で年長者が赤を持つ。
 2.千日手は仕掛けた方から変える。3回同一局面が現れたら仕掛けた方の負け。」


My Japanese is pretty childish and I am especially lost with technical terms about Shogi and Xiangqi, which I don't play, but my best guess/translation is the following:

Quote:
Okinawan Shogi. Played with the same items as Xiangqi and the same rules as Xiangqi with the following exceptions:
1. The pieces are red and white and the older person takes red.
2. The thousand year hand (I assume this is repetitive board positions) changes from the challenger. The person who returns to the same position three times, loses.


Maybe someone with better Japanese ability would like to check that as I'm sure I butchered it.

Regardless, it sounds very similar to Xiangqi to the point that I doubt it would gets it's own entry in the BGG database and is probably considered a variant. Seems like some very minor rules adjustments.
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The sen nichi te rule just says that if a perpetual check position occurs then the player who started it has to change their move.
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Hey guys, guess where I live?

I wish the article was a little clearer on where this is as the island isn't a city. I'm going to assume it is Naha? I can ask some of the Japanese that work in my office about it. Sadly I don't speak Japanese and I would bet that the guys running the class don't speak a lot of English (I would guess they speak some though). I would be interested in learning the game though!
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milomilo122 wrote:
Quote:
There are thousands of new games published every year nowadays. I wonder how many of them will arouse enough passion in future players like this, that they will work hard to keep the game from dying off.


This question fascinates me. This will sound odd, but I'd love to see a sudden stoppage of all all game publishing for a few years. I'd love to see what games people would settle on without the constant commercial assault.



Nick, if there was new-game prohibition, you'd be a bootlegger!
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AndAgainMA wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
Quote:
There are thousands of new games published every year nowadays. I wonder how many of them will arouse enough passion in future players like this, that they will work hard to keep the game from dying off.


This question fascinates me. This will sound odd, but I'd love to see a sudden stoppage of all all game publishing for a few years. I'd love to see what games people would settle on without the constant commercial assault.



Nick, if there was new-game prohibition, you'd be a bootlegger!


Ha. Thank you. That's probably true.
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milomilo122 wrote:
This question fascinates me. This will sound odd, but I'd love to see a sudden stoppage of all all game publishing for a few years. I'd love to see what games people would settle on without the constant commercial assault.


That's why I stopped! Now if the rest would please follow ...
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christianF wrote:

XiangQi > Shatransj > Chess, that's an understandable evolution, ...


Except that it is a non-existent one. XiangQi derives from the same common ancestor - probably itself originating in Northern India or Pakistan some time from the third century BC to second century AD. And it must have developed its current form at about the same time as Chess (sometime AD 1000-1500). So it is:

-> Persian Chess -> Modern Chess
[S.Asian Ancestor]
-> ? -> XiangQi

The ? being because I've never seen anyone present evidence as to whether XiangQi came from the South Asian ancestor or from the Persian game (so it may well be a ? of my lack of knowledge rather than a lack of what is known).
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RobertBr wrote:
christianF wrote:

XiangQi > Shatransj > Chess, that's an understandable evolution, ...


Except that it is a non-existent one. XiangQi derives from the same common ancestor - probably itself originating in Northern India or Pakistan some time from the third century BC to second century AD. And it must have developed its current form at about the same time as Chess (sometime AD 1000-1500). So it is:

-> Persian Chess -> Modern Chess
[S.Asian Ancestor]
-> ? -> XiangQi

The ? being because I've never seen anyone present evidence as to whether XiangQi came from the South Asian ancestor or from the Persian game (so it may well be a ? of my lack of knowledge rather than a lack of what is known).

I stand corrected. Rather a fascinating subject now that I've glanced over a couple of wiki entries.
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s3kt0r wrote:
Best I could find was at this site:

http://toybox.tea-nifty.com/memo/2011/08/post-1fe0.html

The relevant bit is here:

Quote:
「沖縄の将棋。シャンチー(中国将棋)と同じ道具を使い、下記の例外以外シャンチーと同じ遊び方をする。
 1.駒は赤と白で年長者が赤を持つ。
 2.千日手は仕掛けた方から変える。3回同一局面が現れたら仕掛けた方の負け。」


My Japanese is pretty childish and I am especially lost with technical terms about Shogi and Xiangqi, which I don't play, but my best guess/translation is the following:

Quote:
Okinawan Shogi. Played with the same items as Xiangqi and the same rules as Xiangqi with the following exceptions:
1. The pieces are red and white and the older person takes red.
2. The thousand year hand (I assume this is repetitive board positions) changes from the challenger. The person who returns to the same position three times, loses.


Maybe someone with better Japanese ability would like to check that as I'm sure I butchered it.

Regardless, it sounds very similar to Xiangqi to the point that I doubt it would gets it's own entry in the BGG database and is probably considered a variant. Seems like some very minor rules adjustments.

This is in line with what I'm finding.
http://oki-park.jp.e.ms.hp.transer.com/shurijo/blog/detail/7...
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I was at Shuri Castle last weekend! I didn't see any games though. I've asked a handful of Okinawians and none of them have heard of it. My friend is going to talk to his father-in-law, who knows....
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russ wrote:
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703080003.html

asahi.com wrote:
Chunji is the Okinawan equivalent of shogi, which is known as Japanese chess.

The traditional game lost ground to shogi after World War II, partly because Okinawans abandoned their own culture to assimilate into Japan’s main islands, according to Akira Nakamura at the Research Institute of Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts.

Only dozens of people were playing chunji in 2011, but Nakamura and others have led efforts to keep the game alive over the past five years or so by initiating locals, particularly young people, into it.

Yamashiro is attending a weekly chunji class in the city of Okinawa. The four-hour session held every Saturday afternoon started last spring.

Yamashiro’s “friend,” Morihiro Kyan, 71, is a self-appointed chunji missionary.

“I am working out of sheer desire to spread our proud traditional culture,” he said.

The game was introduced from China by the 15th century, at the latest, when the southwestern islands were ruled by the Ryukyu Kingdom. It is essentially the same as xianqgi, which is played across the Chinese-speaking region.


I thought it was an interesting article, and the idea of consciously preserving an abstract strategy game as part of one's cultural heritage is not something I see every day. Usually this sort of article about some members of an assimilated culture trying to preserve their own traditions would be about a language, or perhaps a dance or music or clothing tradition or something similar.

There are thousands of new games published every year nowadays. I wonder how many of them will arouse enough passion in future players like this, that they will work hard to keep the game from dying off.

---

I did a bit of searching for "Chunji" and could not find any info (other than this recent news). Has anyone heard of it?

Russ, try Janggi http://www.chessvariants.com/oriental.dir/koreanchess.html and http://www.chessvariants.com/d.photo/janggi/index.html Go to this page: http://play.chessvariants.com/pbmlogs/index.php and type Janggi into the game box, select all games and any time from the appropriate drop-down menus, hit enter and you will get a list of 35 - 50 games to look at. Sorry if you've already got all this. I'm in the throes of off-again, on-again insomnia, so not tracking too well at 5:00 a.m. on 5 - 6 hours of sleep over the past 3 days. Hope you find it useful/interesting.
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milomilo122 wrote:
Quote:
There are thousands of new games published every year nowadays. I wonder how many of them will arouse enough passion in future players like this, that they will work hard to keep the game from dying off.


This question fascinates me. This will sound odd, but I'd love to see a sudden stoppage of all all game publishing for a few years. I'd love to see what games people would settle on without the constant commercial assault.



This takes a view of games as deep systems to explore, which is a valid but I think increasingly rare perspective. There's Go and Chess for these sorts of players. Instead, games can be seen as interactive puzzles, where the task is not only to best your opponents, but also to figure out the bare basic mechanisms of play.

When your passion for games comes from first-order mechanism understanding, the constant glut of new designs is necessary to feed the beast. I'm not sure any approach is more worthy than another, and I'm slowly coming to peace with the fact that I lay further along the spectrum toward novelty-seeker than system-delver.
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joejoyce wrote:
russ wrote:
I did a bit of searching for "Chunji" and could not find any info (other than this recent news). Has anyone heard of it?

Russ, try Janggi

Thanks; Janggi seems to be played in Korea; are you saying that this Chunji in Okinawa is the same game, or that they are close relatives (e.g. Chunji evolved from Janggi)?

It seems Chunji and Janggi (whether or not they are the same game) are close relatives of the more famous Chinese Chess Xiangqi. (A branch of the Chess family I've not explored much at all; I only played Xiangqi once many years ago...)
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UanarchyK wrote:
This takes a view of games as deep systems to explore, which is a valid but I think increasingly rare perspective. There's Go and Chess for these sorts of players. Instead, games can be seen as interactive puzzles, where the task is not only to best your opponents, but also to figure out the bare basic mechanisms of play.

When your passion for games comes from first-order mechanism understanding, the constant glut of new designs is necessary to feed the beast. I'm not sure any approach is more worthy than another, and I'm slowly coming to peace with the fact that I lay further along the spectrum toward novelty-seeker than system-delver.

That's an interesting distinction and I note you're 'coming to peace' with tending towards exploring new games in a more shallow fashion, rather than delving deep into one or two that are worth it. Why did you phrase it in that way, I wonder?
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russ wrote:
It seems Chunji and Janggi (whether or not they are the same game) are close relatives of the more famous Chinese Chess Xiangqi. (A branch of the Chess family I've not explored much at all; I only played Xiangqi once many years ago...)

I remember that [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hübner]Robert Hübner[/url] was very fond of XiangQi. There's not much on the page about that, except a note about a book (Chinese Chess for Beginners by Sam Sloan (1989) ISBN 0-923891-11-0) that presumably references the fact.

(Underscores in url's don't seem to work here)
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christianF wrote:
(Underscores in url's don't seem to work here)

Robert Hübner
(Experimenting a bit, I find that the problem seems to have been the non-ASCII letter (ü) rather than the underscore.)
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russ wrote:
christianF wrote:
(Underscores in url's don't seem to work here)

Robert Hübner
(Experimenting a bit, I find that the problem seems to have been the non-ASCII letter (ü) rather than the underscore.)


Quibbling a point I am sure you won't mind ...
The letter ü is in the ASCII character set. It is considered extended ASCII (number 129 to be precise).
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qswanger wrote:
russ wrote:
christianF wrote:
(Underscores in url's don't seem to work here)

Robert Hübner
(Experimenting a bit, I find that the problem seems to have been the non-ASCII letter (ü) rather than the underscore.)


Quibbling a point I am sure you won't mind ...
The letter ü is in the ASCII character set. It is considered extended ASCII (number 129 to be precise).


I don't mind, but I hope you won't mind if I note that "Extended ASCII" is not the same as "ASCII". I meant specifically ASCII.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCII
"Not to be confused with MS Windows-1252 or other types of Extended ASCII."

Note also that the first 128 values of UTF-8 coding correspond one-to-one with ASCII, which (by the pigeonhole principle) would not be possible if ASCII were Extended ASCII.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UTF-8
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joejoyce wrote:
russ wrote:
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703080003.html

asahi.com wrote:
Chunji is the Okinawan equivalent of shogi, which is known as Japanese chess.

...


I thought it was an interesting article, and the idea of consciously preserving an abstract strategy game as part of one's cultural heritage is not something I see every day. Usually this sort of article about some members of an assimilated culture trying to preserve their own traditions would be about a language, or perhaps a dance or music or clothing tradition or something similar.

There are thousands of new games published every year nowadays. I wonder how many of them will arouse enough passion in future players like this, that they will work hard to keep the game from dying off.

---

I did a bit of searching for "Chunji" and could not find any info (other than this recent news). Has anyone heard of it?

Russ, try Janggi http://www.chessvariants.com/oriental.dir/koreanchess.html and http://www.chessvariants.com/d.photo/janggi/index.html Go to this page: http://play.chessvariants.com/pbmlogs/index.php and type Janggi into the game box, select all games and any time from the appropriate drop-down menus, hit enter and you will get a list of 35 - 50 games to look at. Sorry if you've already got all this. I'm in the throes of off-again, on-again insomnia, so not tracking too well at 5:00 a.m. on 5 - 6 hours of sleep over the past 3 days. Hope you find it useful/interesting.

Grin, hi, Russ. Do not ask me how I managed to confuse Okinawa with Jeju Island, but I have played some kind of chess with a person living on Jeju, and it made sense to me 8 hours ago! Heh, keep telling myself 'don't post anything when you're that tired', which works right up until I zombie! Be glad this isn't a political commentary! Sorry 'bout that!
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