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Go NationChinese Masculinities and the Game of Weiqi in China$
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Marc L. Moskowitz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276314

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276314.001.0001

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Nation, Race, and Man

Nation, Race, and Man

(p.48) Three Nation, Race, and Man
Go Nation

Marc L. Moskowitz

University of California Press

Anyone familiar with the Cold War politics surrounding chess in the 1950s will readily recognize Weiqi’s contemporary significance in East Asia. Competitions between China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan emphasize a cultural sharing that transcends national borders while simultaneously providing a literal and figurative playing ground for symbolic aggression and nationalistic rivalries. Weiqi rhetoric asserts that one’s playing style reflects one’s personality and one’s place in the world in direct comparison with other men. This form of manhood relies on controlled aggression, the will to maximize one’s gain, and the ability to assert one’s dominance. Weiqi’s imagery is also tied to the spiritual forces of the universe, as well as to the ideals of Confucian virtue. Those speaking of the game often tie it in directly with conceptions of manhood. What, then, does it mean to be a man in China and in what ways does the traditionalist Weiqi realm provide a vocabulary for masculinity in the contemporary age? Masculine discourses also extend to national identity and international rivalries. In this worldview, there is remarkable overlap between an individual’s playing style and his national origins.

Keywords:   China, East Asian competition, Japan, Korea, masculinity, nationalism

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