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August 19, 2004

A dream to establish a system to dispatch Shogi instructors overseas(Vol.16,2001.7.26)

A dream is to think how nice it would be if we could make this or that or to think if there existed this or that. In reality, nothing is materialized yet. Planning is a step forward to realize what is imagined in a dream. (By Naohiro Sanada, chaiman)

A motto of ISPS is “Try to have big dreams and realize them steadily little by little.”
A dream that ISPS had until the year before last was “conversion into a corporation of ISPS”. Without any help from a professional expert, thanks to the introduction of a new law on Non-Profit Organizations, we achieved this in autumn of last year.
A next dream after our conversion into a corporation was to promote Japanese and Chinese children’s Shogi matches sponsored by official organizations on a regular and repeating basis. The “First Goodwill Festa of Matches between Japanese and Chinese Elementary School Children” realized the dream.
Sponsored by the Japan Shogi Association, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, preliminary matches of children in Tokyo shall be held in June and the final selection, inviting Chinese children, shall be held in July. (The detail of the final matches shall be informed in the Kakehashi No. 17.)
This dream has expanded further. Next year as a part of the 30th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Japan and China, the second festa is now being planned.
The pleasant dream that the children of both countries will continue Shogi matches every year by exchanging visits between Tokyo and Beijing is now being translated into reality.
At this juncture, as the strength of ISPS becomes stronger, here is another dream that we hope will be realized. This dream is the “establishment of a system to dispatch Shogi instructors overseas”. Recently, in China, Russia, Sweden, etc., persons who have come to be aware of the appeal of Shogi are increasing. And they are eager to spread it. Now, the number of countries and persons who are attracted by Shogi will be increasing more than ever.
According to our past experience, problems facing a country where nothing is known about Shogi are the following: --
(1) Lack of Shogi instructors
(2) Lack of instruction books written in a local language where Shogi will be popularized (Even books on Shogi written in English are quite limited in number.)
(3) Hard to obtain a board and pieces of Shogi

It is not rare that professional Shogi players visit abroad giving lessons, or amateur-volunteers teach basics to foreigners. I know an instance that in Paraguay, a Japanese man produced special pieces of Shogi for the sake of native people who could not read Japanese and then he started giving lessons.
In spite of that example, it can be said that so far nothing has been done under a long range plan. Under such circumstance, I am of the opinion that ISPS can contribute greatly if we are able to dispatch a coach to a foreign organization or individual persons at their request for a term according to a plan based upon an established system. This will surely help the popularization of Shogi.
So far this is what I dream as a desirable system, which should be materialized. However, no concrete measure has been decided yet. In order to make it a reality, we should think of ways to collect and pool talented people. There are some difficulties. Among them: how long they should be dispatched to what country or countries; how those kinds of things are to be decided, etc.
The most important problem is the question of who is going to bear the expenses. If ISPS was a rich organization, such a plan could easily be realized only upon obtaining an authorization from the directors or a general meeting of the members.
Unfortunately, for the present, ISPS is not that rich. Nevertheless, we should somehow try to do our best under the limited circumstances. Then let us try to find sponsors. A Shogi fan, with a burning passion for popularization of Shogi world-wide, suddenly dies with a will to donate immense wealth to ISPS – A fairy-tale. Such is like winning the first prize at lottery. Let us turn to a more realistic story.
A realistic possibility that has emerged recently is that it may be possible for us to join the “Supporting Plan for Youth’s International Activities” sponsored by Kanagawa Prefecture. The gist of this plan is that Kanagawa Prefecture is to support youth’s international activities. Its qualification are as follows: --
 *18-30 years old person living, working and / or studying in Kanagawa Prefecture
 *A subject place: A place either designated by the Prefecture, or a person selected is
to decide in accordance with his (or her) desire.
 *Term: More than one month and less than six months
 *Expenses: The Prefecture is to pay half the amount needed for the international

Since this is a public system, there are a number of restrictions. Nevertheless, if ISPS were able to find a young person who is a strong Shogi player and lives in Kanagawa, it would be possible for ISPS to let him apply for the plan and then send him abroad. For instance, we could set up a plan to send him to Shanghai, which is a sister city of Yokohama (in Kanagawa Prefecture), to give instructions to pupils of elementary and middle schools there. However, in this case, he should be good at Chinese. Since half the cost is to be borne by the Prefecture, we should decide how much of the balance should be borne by him and ISPS. If one million yen is to be borne by the youth and ISPS, by counting backwards, we can decide how long he can stay and teach in Shanghai.
Thus we can somehow send a coach abroad. Of course further effort is needed for extension and continuation of such an idea.
If we try to search such a plan at other local governments, we may be able to find similar systems. The national government may have almost the same system. Anyway if ISPS is able to utilize such a system, we may be able to materialize our plan with a limited amount of money.
Since I am looking for the members’ ideas on the matter and materialize international popularization of Shogi, your opinion on the matter is highly appreciated. Let me hear your opinion.


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