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An internationalized but non-westernized shogi set
CouchTomato (1064) 2019-06-18 08:38
Hi everyone! I've been working on a new internationalized shogi set... I've always admired Hidetchi's set because of its beauty, simplicity, and how well it demonstrates movement. However, a number of players do not like such sets because of the westernized feeling, that using such pieces try too much to be like chess and lose what it is to be shogi.

So my goal is to create something in between, something that does what Hidetchi's set does, but does not rely on European-style chess pieces when possible (for example all the Catholic references).

Here is a picture of one of the set in plastic form (as opposed to wooden form):

And here is an explanation of the set:

Any feedback is appreciated! 
10: captbirdseye (700) 2020-02-26 18:40 (2020-03-08 20:29に編集)
> OH brother. It's because of people like captbirdseye that the international shogi community is as small as it is today...

I never bothered responding *directly* to this offensive and insulting calumny from some-one who apparently can't accept any-one presuming to disagree with him. However, today I have a few spare minutes in my busy schedule, and I'm feeling a bit liverish, so:

Utter crap! 

The reason that "...the international shogi community is as small as it is today..." is because the aspiring Shogi player is put off by the constant repetition of the tired old cliche about kanji being too difficult for non-Japanese to learn. In my experience, this was, is, and always will be complete garbage.

This idea is put about by folks who are too frightened/lazy/dumb/unmotivated/patronising to learn a few unfamiliar symbols from a different culture (min. 8/9, max. 14/15).

These folks clearly suffer from some form of inferiority complex, and deal with that complex by talking patronisingly about 'the average person', and by indulging in 'displacement activities' such as inventing joke Shogi pieces which they then try and palm off on the emerging international Shogi community. Needless to say, these joke pieces (and the misguided wretches who promote them) are a complete waste of space.

From a personal point of view, I regard this sort of criticism from a member of this self-appointed 'elite' of patronising clowns as praise of the highest order - clearly, my disparaging remarks about these tatty joke Shogi pieces have got them worried.

This is my Shogi 'Badge of Shame' - I will wear it with pride...

9: captbirdseye (700) 2020-01-29 14:07 (2020-01-30 16:10に編集)
> > OH brother. It's because of people like captbirdseye that the international shogi community is as small as it is today...
> WRONG! ! ! ! ! ABSOLUTELY W-R-O-N-G!!!

You're right - of course he's wrong! All the promoters of these stupid, childish, joke sets are wrong.

They are wrong because they are apparently unable or unwilling to accept the fact that the 'average person' (mentioned in one of this guy's earlier posts) is more than capable of learning a few 'strange' symbols!

I have been interested in Shogi for over 50 years, and I suppose I have been 'promoting' Shogi, albeit at a low-ish level since the early 1990s when I published what was (I think) the first Shogi web page in the world.
I have **NEVER** encountered a single person who had (or thought they would have) any difficulty learning to use proper Shogi pieces. Sure, it would take a few games to become familiar with the pieces, but the effort involved is nothing like that involved in (say) learning a musical instrument or a foreign language.

I believe that the oft-repeated claim that kanji are too difficult for non-Japanese to learn is complete rubbish, and this belief has always been supported by my experience with 'new' players...

I believe that the folks who promote these joke Shogi pieces simply can't be arsed to learn a few strange symbols, and assume that the rest of us suffer from the same lack of motivation. I firmly believe that the 'average person' is a little brighter than these self-appointed, super-intelligent, god-like beings would have us believe (don't they just **love** to patronise and condescend to the rest of us?).

Unfortunately, these folks believe their own propaganda, and have set forth on a messianic quest to convince the rest of the world that their tawdry, cheapjack attempts to fix something which ain't broke constitute the only true gospel as far as Shogi is concerned.

Anyone who has the temerity to question these zealots is accused of hindering the spread of Shogi outside Japan. If it weren't pathetic, it would be funny... 

I repeat, I firmly believe that the 'average person' is more than capable of learning a few kanji, and looks on learning the kanji on Shogi pieces as a bit of a challenge - and also 'good fun'.
8: efren (958) 2020-01-26 05:44
> OH brother. It's because of people like captbirdseye that the international shogi community is as small as it is today...


My first approach at Shogi was earliest in the 1990's, when as teenager i was watching "Ranma 1/2 ( aka, Ranma nibun no ichi)" Started before I knowing anything else about, "Manga (comic from Japanese artist), Anime" or so on. Otaku, nor even differentiate Japan from China (as many people stil now days... TT__TT )

was not until late in 2006, when finaly thanks to another Manga "Naruto" where we finally find trace of Shogi, and learned the VERY BASIC ESSENTIAL rules of how pieces move.
so, distinguise the kanji caracter on every piece, associatin his movements, and START PLAYING it ( nothing more! NOTHING of Strategy on openings?! o_0
... middle Game o_0? ?_? ... )
Yeah, at these times ( between 1995-2006 ), I was pretty much aware of Japanese Culture, as I started participating in a Young Entity to promote MANGA and Anime.

So, since I learned how to play, and find myself with NO ONE to play With ... I just take the path to start promoting it with just a "PRINTED VERSION OF KANJI Sets" games, in Manganime /otaku Conventions I was attending, collaborating in organising, ( as I still doing at Hyper Japan's here in London).
 from just me ( as the ones who one teach me the rules stop playing it... ) I started promoting it slowly but constantly ... we are now in over few year a bunch of 30 - 40 regular players. 

So, what i find why shogi isn't so much popular in occident...

A) Lag of facility to BUY a Shogi set, rather than if it is "Westernised" or Traditional one with the Kanji.
Every "toy Shop" you go you will sure find a Chess set, even Stationery Shops can sometimes had have a basic Chess set ... TT__TT 
How it will be compared to the amount of people who have heard about shogi ??

B) Even more than HALF of Japanese people I meet, In Spain, or here in England, DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO PLAY SHOGI. and got really SURPRISED than I do!
How funniest sound it?
7: captbirdseye (700) 2019-10-23 14:16 (2020-01-29 13:52に編集)
> OH brother.It's because of people like captbirdseye that the international shogi community is as small as it is today...

Ouch! That hurt! :-) At least it was brief - unlike the drivel put forward promoting this disaster...
6: CouchTomato (1064) 2019-10-21 09:08
OH brother. It's because of people like captbirdseye that the international shogi community is as small as it is today...
5: captbirdseye (700) 2019-10-14 19:41 (2019-10-16 13:20に編集)
> I am not sure why everyone talks about "learning kanji" in relation to recognizing shogi pieces...I don't think this is even a debate.

If you can hear the sound of faint cheering in the background, that's me!

>...all it took for them to learn it was playing one or two games. This was true for literally everyone I showed the game to, without a single exception...

Snap! I'll be demonstrating Shogi at a big event in early November, and I'll bet that my previous experiences at Shogi demos will be repeated - no-one has *ever* had a problem 'learning' the pieces - no-one who's prepared to put a little effort into it, that is.

>...It is ridiculous to compare this to learning math at school...

Right on! When it was first touted (on another Shogi forum), this particular set was justified by some equally ridiculous comparisons with Edison, and the design of the Canadian flag. False claims in the original post were 'justified' on the grounds that it was 'obvious' that the poster really meant the exact *opposite* of what he actually said. What complete garbage!!!
   Incidentally, when one learns mathematics, one has to learn (at least part of) the Greek alphabet, and all the other arcane symbols associated with the subject - if it's OK to learn unfamiliar symbols/characters for mathematics, why not for Shogi (a much smaller set of 'strange' characters)?

> ...I'm against ever using any type of pieces other than the official kanji ones, and that includes Hidetchi's internationalized...

More cheering in the background from me - getting louder now...
4: nexxogen (1424) 2019-10-14 18:45
I am not sure why everyone talks about "learning kanji" in relation to recognizing shogi pieces. There is a huge difference between the two. 

To "learn kanji" in terms of shogi ends at being able to recognize different shapes. What is described here as "westerners not wanting to learn kanji", is only their negative first impression when they see a shogi set for the first time. I've heard "I could never learn that" more times than I can count, and then all it took for them to learn it was playing one or two games. This was true for literally everyone I showed the game to, without a single exception.

It is ridiculous to compare this to learning math at school, because there's really not much to learn here. The vast majority of people are able to tell one drawing from another, and as soon as they catch certain parts of the kanji that remind them of something they already know, the "problem" seizes to exist. I know I learned it that way: the Gold reminds me of a house with a roof, the Bishop looks like a coat hanger to me, the Rook has two 'E' letters on the right side, the Silver has the squished Gold sign plus something that looks like a letter 'R', and so on... This doesn't even come close to actually learning kanji like you would if you studied the Japanese language. It is just simple recognition of familiar patterns where it's not blatantly obvious at first glance.

Now, you could argue that even that first negative reaction people get is still enough of a problem and there may be some truth to it (though I do not agree that this is anywhere near the main reason for the fact that shogi is virtually non-existent ouside of Japan), but I strongly believe that changing the way pieces look is in no way a solution to that. I'm against ever using any type of pieces other than the official kanji ones, and that includes Hidetchi's internationalized which are by far the best ones in my opinion. The reason for this is that I believe it is best to overcome the "kanji barrier" as early as possible. Players would have to eventually switch to kanji anyway, and experience tells me that people generally don't like learning new stuff, but they REALLY don't like leaving their comfort zone. I can easily see how every game played with international pieces by someone who's been using them from day one, would make that person that much more reluctant to switch to kanji.

I don't think this is even a debate.
3: captbirdseye (700) 2019-06-20 02:20 (2019-10-16 13:24に編集)
> That's a very ornery comment...

Correct. Why? Because there seems to be a new Shogi piece design that will 'save the world' every few months, and I'm getting weary. I'm aware of three in the last 18 months or so, and I will concede that this design is the best of that particular trio (which isn't saying much!!!), but everything's relative, and the other two were so unbelievably bad that I refuse to tell folks where to find them...).

You said that any feedback would be appreciated - you got some - you didn't appreciate it. Tough! It's a cruel hard world.
2: CouchTomato (1064) 2019-06-19 20:28
That's a very ornery comment and picking out the most ridiculous part to complain about despite the fact that I apologized in said Reddit post for that error. I did not edit that post because it would put the whole conversation out of context. Furthermore, it should've been obvious from the start that when I said there was no "official standard," I meant in terms of internationalized pieces. Obviously the standard is kanji.

And second, "attempts to fix something which ain't broke." What's broke is that there is the shogi presence outside of Japan is very very small, especially compared to something like Go.

Third, I do have real pieces, and I know kanji just fine, thank you. The goal is not for people like you and me, but the for all the people out there that are missing out because they're too intimidated to learn kanji. Stop sticking your head in the sand and saying it's not a thing, because it is (and if you want, I can cite some data supporting that). But the fact of the matter is, some people just can't learn kanji that well. It's like math, or music. We could easily be in a mathematics forum arguing about abolishing calculus as a requirement from high school curriculum because it's easy and people should just learn it! Well consider the average person.
1: captbirdseye (700) 2019-06-19 13:31 (2019-10-14 19:31に編集)
This one was being touted on Reddit/shogi a few weeks back.

It's hopeless, like all these attempts to fix something which ain't broke. For Pete's sake, just buy a set of real Shogi pieces, and learn the kanji. If that's too difficult, take up tiddley-winks (no characters at all to learn!).

The promoter in the Reddit instance(*) based his claim for fame on the 'fact' that as there was no 'official' standard set, this offering was a good candidate for being adopted as that 'official' set. All this, despite the fact that there *is* an 'official' set, and despite the fact that this mistake was pointed out several times in the ensuing thread. The promoter of this disaster (at first) denied he had said there was no 'official' set, even when the evidence was there in his own post - then couldn't even be bothered to edit his own post to correct the mistake - the excuse being that he didn't want to confuse people by changing the post - pathetic...

Another candidate for the dust-bin of history, I think.

(*) I presume it's the same individual.