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Hikaru no Go (ヒカルの碁, lit. Hikaru's Go) is a manga series, a coming of age story based on the board game Go written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata with an anime adaptation. The production of the series' Go games was supervised by Go professional Yukari Umezawa (5-dan). The manga is largely responsible for popularizing Go amongst the youth of Japan since its debut, and in other areas such as China, South Korea, and Taiwan. More recently it has gained much popularity in the United States. The title is sometimes abbreviated as "HnG".
First released in Japan in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump in 1998, Hikaru no Go achieved tremendous success, spawning a popular Go fad of almost unprecedented proportions; it received the Shogakukan Manga Award in 2000 and its creators received the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2003 for the series. Twenty-three volumes of manga were published in Japan, comprising 189 chapters plus 11 extra chapters. The anime series, which was created by Studio Pierrot, ran for 75 half hour episodes from 2001 to 2003 on TV Tokyo, along with the 77-minute extra New Year's Special that aired in January 2004.
In January 2004, the manga series debuted in the United States in the English language periodical Shonen Jump published by VIZ, now VIZ Media. In 2005 it was announced that VIZ Media also has the license to the anime. Hikaru no Go Volume 1 DVD was released on December 27, 2005. A Hikaru no Go "Sneak Preview" DVD (first episode) was released in the January 2006 issue of Shonen Jump (Volume 4, Issue 1) to subscribers. Hikaru no Go aired on ImaginAsian TV in the United States. It premiered on the online streaming service Toonami Jetstream on July 14, 2006. In the April 2008 issue of Shonen Jump, it was revealed that this was the last chapter to be published in the Shonen Jump magazine. All 23 volumes of the graphic novel have been released in the US.
- Main article: Beginning Arc
The manga has sold more than 22,000,000 copies in Japan.
Effect on the popularity of Go
Hikaru no Go dramatically increased the popularity of Go in Japan and elsewhere, particularly among young children. Go professional Yukari Umezawa served as the technical advisor for the anime and promoted the game on behalf of the Nihon Ki-in. She had a short one-minute special at the end of every episode instructing kids how to play Go. One of the reasons she helped increase Go's popularity was from being called the "best looking Go professional". Hikaru no Go also caused an increase in popularity, and awareness of, Go throughout all other countries where it was read or seen. As a result, many Go clubs were started by people influenced by the manga.