Jogi - the Japanese chess

Research into the origin of Japanese chess is relatively recent, and only picked up from the 1980s onward. While some attribute its origins to China, others reject this notion (K. Masukawa (1994) On the origins of Japanese chess). 

Its differences to Chinese chess are obvious in several ways. Shogi is played on a board of 9×9 cases, the 20 pieces on each side are placed in the fields. The pieces differ by their inscribed characters, not by colour. Inscriptions are found on both sides on the pieces that can be promoted thus being turned to assume a new value. Due to their pentagonal shape with a wider base, they are pointed in the direction of their opponent. The “legibility” of both – Chinese and Japanese pieces – clearly points to the reception of the games in circles which were able to read.

As the ground line of the pieces is dominated by the give “generals”, as Murray spoke of a “generals’ game. There is a princely and a jewel general in the centre, followed by two gold and two sliver generals, two ‘cinnamon’ horses, two lances or ‘incense’ carriages. The ‘flying’ carriages find their position before the horses, the nine foot soldiers in the third line. While the main characters on the pieces are derived from the Chinese ones, they are further specified by adjectives (e.g.’gold general’, etc).

Shogi with Porcelain Chessmen  

Shogi board on feet, lacquer with gold, mother of pearl and semi precious stone incrustations. Size is 16.5 x 35 x 32 cm. Chessmen of Arita porcelain. Source: CCI (2012) Chinese Chess Sets

Shogi Board 

Lacquered shogi board, with gold decorations and mother of pearl inlays together with signed chessmen in their decorated box. Source: CCI (2012) Chinese Chess Sets