Table Speech

'Life Brings a Brilliance'  

September 1st,2004

A professional Shogi (japanese Chess) Player
Ms.Sachio Ishibashi

I was born in 1980 as a premature baby weighing some 1500 grams, or about a half of a normal one. Furthermore, I suffered from an intestinal obstruction which I still have. My birth was caesarian, and I was the third child. The doctor told my mother that I should be transferred to an institution which specialized in infant disorders, but continued to say that the next 3 days would be crucial as to whether I would live or not. So I spent my first 12 years in a medical institution and did not experience the comforts of home.

Today, my mother is with me 24 hours a day as my manager and also a nurse, but in my infancy I considered my doctor and nurse to be my parents.

I have experienced 3 surgical operations on my stomach which seems to be the limit and after that have been treated intravenously. I had blood transfusions from 30 persons which lasted 4 hours. Thus I was told that my life had been sustained by others, and was obliged to repay the debt.

My school was a nursery school for the handicapped which had classes ranging from primary to high school levels, and with 150 pupils had 150 teachers or one per pupil. Our lessons would advance according to the ability of the pupils, and we were under the individual care of the teacher.

I started playing shogi when I was in the 3rd grade, and felt that it suited me as I did not have to move physically. It takes time to learn the shogi rules, and that alone does not make you win. In my shogi class we were told that we should not play shogi until we had mastered the rules.

Fortunately, my teacher was an amateur shogi player holding a 4th or 5th rank and being given a handicap played shogi with him during lunchtime and after hours.

So from my 4th grade to the 10th grade, I felt that I was going to school to play shogi. When I was confined to my hospital bed, a doctor who liked to play shogi would be found and he would be put in charge of me. Some times I would play 30 games from 10 in the morning until 9 in evening at our shogi class.
On my 5th grade birthday, I told my parents and teacher I would like to become a professional shogi player in which I succeeded in October of my 7th grade year.

Fortunately since then I have not been hospitalized, and it seems that having discovered my career has kept me healthy. 11 years have passed since then.
If I went to work in a firm, the age 23 means that I am just a new employee, but in shogi age does not matter. Recently, I am considered a veteran and expected to play accordingly.

I have been able to come this far because my aged seniors treated me as equals when playing shogi, and I owe my success to what these persons taught me. I am grateful in being allowed to follow the career that I have chosen. The system of professional shogi players started only 30 years ago, and there are 50 of us today. It’s a new world for us, and my difference is that I must prepare to be in my best physical condition for our weekly matches. Shogi is called a conversation on the chess board, and I would like to see more females learning the game.

My favorite sentence is ‘All things live and shine’. Every person has some talent or ability hidden, and discovering it makes one shine. Every day after I became a pro I have been concerned about my health, and keeping this in mind have pursued my two fields of calligraphy and shogi. By doing so, I can experience the joy of living.

Everyone can find within one’s self something that he excels at, and by pursuing it can feel the joy, of living, making one shine. And that is the heart of ‘Life brings a brilliance’.