John Fairbairn wrote:
Quote:
I have not read Shimada's endgame texts; given your earlier hints and his rules texts (of which I saw some in English), he might have described some basics or maybe a bit maths.
I'd recommend a bit of caution with your nuances here. You will recall that Emanual Lasker, in the throes of planning to go to Japan, said “The Japanese haven’t as yet produced a mathematician who compares with the best we can muster. I am convinced that we can, ultimately, beat them at go, the ideal game for a mathematical mind.” His go equal, Dueball (also a mathematician), did go to Japan and had to play Shusai on 8 stones.
The Japanese player who was most instrumental in promoting go in Germany was Fujita Goro. He was later to meet Einstein at Princeton. This visit was arranged by guess who, the Princeton-based Japanese mathematician Yano Kentaro. One of those Lasker was ignorant of. I do hope the phrase he was only a "professor at Princeton" will not join "he is only a Japanese 9-dan" in the go archives
I can't comment on anyone at such stratospheric levels in maths or go, but our own Charles Matthews, who taught at Cambridge and Princeton, may be able to say something about how good Japanese mathematicians were.
The question of when Japanese mathematicians joined the mainstream of European/American professional mathematics has a fairly definite answer, I think. Takagi Teiji (高木 貞治) 1875–1960 did pioneering work in algebraic number theory (my field) after a period at Göttingen before WWI. After the work of Kunihiko Kodaira in algebraic geometry, Lasker's remark could be disregarded.
Lasker of course didn't have it right about go. I would regard attitudes to the traditional "mind games" in the European context, up to around 1920 and the rise of Soviet chess, as a sort of cultural history that might repay study. A Japanese visitor to Cambridge once asked me for help the use of "game" in some writings of T. E. Hulme, the poet. The usage of ideas like "formal game" and mathematics as one, and "language game" in Wittgenstein, really are odd to those who spend considerable time on chess and go, etc. When they cross over from pastimes and entertainment to another level of "seriousness", it is easy to get confused as to what is going on. British and Central European attitudes, for example, appear to me to have been quite different. But that's a long story.