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Full name Kisei
Started 1976
Honorary Winners Hideyuki Fujisawa
Koichi Kobayashi
Sponsors Yomiuri Shimbun
Prize money ¥45 million
(as of 29 June 2011)
Affiliation Nihon Ki-in

Kisei (棋聖) is an honorary title and go competition. The title, meaning Go Sage in Japanese, was a traditional honorary appellation given to a handful of players down the centuries. The element ki can also apply to shogi, and there were also recognized kisei in the shogi world.


Kisei is a Go competition organised by the Japanese Nihon Ki-in. The competition began in 1976 by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and is currently the highest paying competition in Japanese professional Go, paying ¥45,000,000 (approx. $557,000 as of 29 June 2011) to the winner in 2011. The word Kisei is Japanese for "Go Sage", which is why before the Kisei tournament began, the only players who were given the title "Kisei" were Dōsaku and Hon′inbō Shūsaku.

The holder is challenged by whoever wins the round robin league. Players can get into the round robin league by going through many preliminary tournaments. Once there is a challenger to compete against the holder, the winner is decided through a best of seven match. The games are played over two days and each player is given eight hours of thinking time. If a player qualifies for the Kisei league, they are automatically promoted to 7 dan. If that same player wins the league, a promotion to 8 dan is given. If that same player goes on to winning the title, they are promoted to 9 dan, the highest rank.

Past winners

Year Winner Score Runner-up
1977 Hideyuki Fujisawa 4-1 Utaro Hashimoto
1978 Hideyuki Fujisawa 4-3 Masao Kato
1979 Hideyuki Fujisawa 4-1 Yoshio Ishida
1980 Hideyuki Fujisawa 4-1 Rin Kaiho
1981 Hideyuki Fujisawa 4-0 Hideo Otake
1982 Hideyuki Fujisawa 4-3 Rin Kaiho
1983 Cho Chikun 4-3 Hideyuki Fujisawa
1984 Cho Chikun 4-2 Rin Kaiho
1985 Cho Chikun 4-3 Masaki Takemiya
1986 Koichi Kobayashi 4-2 Cho Chikun
1987 Koichi Kobayashi 4-1 Masaki Takemiya
1988 Koichi Kobayashi 4-1 Masao Kato
1989 Koichi Kobayashi 4-1 Masaki Takemiya
1990 Koichi Kobayashi 4-1 Hideo Otake
1991 Koichi Kobayashi 4-3 Masao Kato
1992 Koichi Kobayashi 4-3 Hiroshi Yamashiro
1993 Koichi Kobayashi 4-3 Masao Kato
1994 Cho Chikun 4-2 Koichi Kobayashi
1995 Satoru Kobayashi 4-2 Cho Chikun
1996 Cho Chikun 4-3 Satoru Kobayashi
1997 Cho Chikun 4-1 Satoru Kobayashi
1998 Cho Chikun 4-2 Norimoto Yoda
1999 Cho Chikun 4-2 Koichi Kobayashi
2000 O Rissei 4-2 Cho Chikun
2001 O Rissei 4-2 Cho Sonjin
2002 O Rissei 4-2 Ryu Shikun
2003 Keigo Yamashita 4-1 O Rissei
2004 Naoki Hane 4-3 Keigo Yamashita
2005 Naoki Hane 4-3 Satoshi Yuki
2006 Keigo Yamashita 4-0 Naoki Hane
2007 Keigo Yamashita 4-0 Satoru Kobayashi
2008 Keigo Yamashita 4-3 Cho Chikun
2009 Keigo Yamashita 4-2 Norimoto Yoda
2010 Cho U 4-1 Keigo Yamashita
2011 Cho U 4-2 Yuta Iyama
2012 Cho U 4-3 Shinji Takao
2013 Yuta Iyama 4-2 Cho U
2014 Yuta Iyama 4-2 Keigo Yamashita
2015 Yuta Iyama 4-3 Keigo Yamashita

Honorary winners