Vogue interviews Xie Yimin

Recently the fashion house Chanel has been sponsoring a series of interviews of various artists for Vogue Taiwan.

One of the artists they interviewed was the current Japanese women’s Honinbo Meijin, Xie Yimin 6p. Here’s an edited video of the interview:

An interview with Xie Yimin

Transcript of the video in English

I started playing Go when I was 5 years old.

After I turned 7, I left Taiwan and went to Korea by myself to study Go. [Editor: the Taiwanese Go Association wasn’t established until the year 2000.]

A few years later, when I was 12, I went on to study in Japan. I probably studied seriously for around seven years in total.

When I first arrived at the Nihon Kiin, I had to learn to kneel while I played. At first this took some getting used to, as games would last for 2-3 hours.

I would kneel until my legs and feet went numb. However, my Go Sensei (teacher) said that, before the goban, one must learn to display a modest demeanour before one can become strong at Go.

Xie Yimin: Women’s Honinbo Meijin.

I was different from the other students because I was from Taiwan.

Sometimes after losing a game, the other students would go home straight away. But I couldn’t.

So I had to learn to be more strong-willed than the others.

Still, this didn’t always guarantee a win.

The game I’m playing through for you now is one I lost.

I used to get quite upset after I lost a game, and would replay it over and over in my head.

To be honest, other than at Go, I’d say I’m not a very graceful loser.

Actually, Go has never come easily to me – I’ve always found it very difficult. If I could face every game calmly, that would be ok, but I’m always nervous.

Even now, I have trouble calming myself down before every game. But I believe in myself, because my family believes in me.

I look at every game as an opportunity for me to demonstrate this and to learn more about Go.

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About Jing

Jing likes writing, and can occasionally be convinced to play a game of Go. Even though she doesn't play Go as often as she once did, she still enjoys following the professional Go scene and writing about it on Go Game Guru.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Great to see Go covered in such a mainstream publication!

    • Yes! I think they did a great job of making Go seem cool and sophisticated. Which it is, of course 🙂

  2. frédéric says:

    good article , thank you jing. Last year i meet her and i studied with her and his eyes was very focused on go board .She’s very serious about baduk 🙂 ( and kind) .

    • That sounds fun. Where did you meet her Frédéric? For how long? Were you able to communicate with her easily?

      • I met xie yimin Last year at Bordeaux for egc. And i met a old Japanese Guy and this Guy knows xie yimin. And once i studied with this guy and xie yimin for few hours. Sorry 🙁

        • Oh, that’s really lucky! What are you apologizing for? Thanks for sharing your story about Xie. More people should do that because Go players are always interested in these sorts of stories 😛

          • Normally Next year i go in korea for 2 months , so i hope to have new stories 🙂

          • Xevithirus says:

            I live in canada, and these stories are almost all I have in the way of Go activity these days. It is very difficult to find a set of players to challenge and impossible to apprentice. If I had the money I would drop everything in my life right now, and move to either China, Japan, or Korea just to apprentice under a professional. I fear this will only ever be a dream, though.

  3. she is very cute

  4. It’s always comforting to know that pros like Cho Chikun, Xie Yimin, who are very strong feel just as awful as I do about playing.

  5. Such a young age to be put into an environment full of challenging elements. Her tenacity and focus throughout her journey so far is venerable and inspiring. Hoping to see her shine in one of the gender mixed tournaments some day.

  6. tricycle222 says:

    I showed the video to a colleague of mine who is from Taiwan and in midlife became a mathematics teacher. She was very impressed with the interview and expressed her admiration for the profound manner in which she expressed the driving forces in her life. Since I cannot understand Chinese, I really appreciate your translation. I am definitely one of those Go players who want to hear what professionals have to say. Thank you!

  7. Pascal Mallet says:

    I love the way you talk. A certain way, I love you. You have nothing to fear, you are in the right way, you just have to go on. Female playing on go is just fabulous !
    I’m sure we just love you. I don’t want to say too much, I wish you the best.