How to Select a Shogi Piece Stand

What is a Shogi Piece Stand?

One of the main features of the game of shogi is the rule that you can use the pieces you have taken as your own.
Since you can use pieces that are not on the board, the rule stipulates that you must disclose “what pieces, and how many, you have”. It is considered a "foul" to place a piece that you have taken from your opponent in a place where they cannot see it, to keep it in your hand, or to hide it.
Therefore, pieces taken from the opponent during a game must be placed on the "shogi piece stand", which is a stand next to the shogi board, so that both players can see it.
There are 2 shogi piece stands, one for each player, placed next to the shogi board.
Usually, they are placed on the player's right-hand side, but in rare cases, they may be placed on the left-hand side.
History of Shogi Piece Stands
There are various theories about the history of shogi piece stands, but it seems that they have been in general use only relatively recently, since around the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912). Prior to that time, it seems that shogi piece boxes and Kaishi (Japanese tissue paper) were used as shogi piece holders.
How to Arrange the Shogi Pieces on the Shogi Piece Stand
Although there is no set rule for how to arrange shogi pieces on the shogi piece stand, most shogi pieces are arranged in an inverted fan shape for ease of viewing and for aesthetic purposes.
This is because the shogi pieces are narrower at the top, so when they are aligned at the edges, they naturally line up in the shape of an inverted fan.
Height of the Shogi Piece Stand
The height of the shogi piece stand is generally lower than the height of the top surface of the shogi board by about 5 to 10 mm (the thickness of a shogi piece), so that it is easy to see, easy to use, and does not interfere with the game.
Size of the Top Surface of the Shogi Piece Stand
The usual size of the top surface on which the shogi pieces are placed is 4 sun x 4 sun (approx. 12 ㎠).

Value and Price of Shogi Piece Stands

In general, the shogi piece stand is made of wood.
It is said that "the material of the shogi piece stand should be a little darker in color than the board”, but recently many people choose their favorite material according to their preference.
Popular materials include Island Mulberry from Mikurajima Island, Yakusugi Cedar, Torreya (Conifer), and Zelkova. Other popular choices include shogi piece stands made of fine-grained precious wood with Moku (unique figures).
Some people also choose to have a shogi piece stand made of the same material as the shogi piece box.
There are two main types of shogi piece stands: those for shogi boards with legs and those for tabletop shogi boards. These two types are made according to the height of the shogi board’s surface, and therefore they have different shapes.
Shogi piece stand for a board with legs
In most cases, the height of a shogi piece stand for a board with legs is higher than that of a shogi piece stand for a tabletop board, so the shogi piece stand itself also has legs. There are 2 types of legged shogi piece stands: the 1-legged and the 4-legged. The 1-legged is simple and sleek looking, while the 4-legged is a little more elaborate and luxurious.
Shogi piece stands for tabletop boards
There are various types of shogi piece stands for tabletop boards, including luxurious ones with decorative carvings on the sides and bottom, and simple ones with only chamfering (shaved edges to improve the texture and appearance), depending on the craftsman.
How to Select a Shogi Piece Box

What is a Shogi Piece Box

A shogi piece box is a wooden box for storing shogi pieces. In most cases, the shogi pieces are stored in a cubic or flat paulownia wood box at the time of purchase, but there are cases in which a shogi piece box made of fine wood is ordered according to the customer's preference.
The choice of wood material, color, and shape is also an enjoyable part of the process.

Value and Price of Shogi Piece Boxes

Shogi piece boxes are generally made of wood. Among the most popular and famous materials used for shogi piece boxes are Island Mulberry from Mikurajima Island, Black Persimmon, Yakusugi Cedar, and Zelkova. Some people also choose to have a shogi piece box made of the same material as the shogi piece stand.
Unlike the production of the shogi board, the production of a shogi piece box as a Shogi instrument is often made by a "woodwork craftsman" artisan.
The shogi piece box is made without using nails to prevent the shogi pieces from being damaged.
Some shogi piece boxes are made using techniques that show glimpses of the craftsmanship, such as "Sumimaru," in which the corners of the box are rounded, and "Tenmukuri," in which the top panel of the lid is finished in a gentle curve.
When shogi pieces are placed in a shogi piece box as they are, there is a risk of scratching the shogi pieces or chipping the lacquer on the Moriage-goma (heaped-up shogi pieces) inside the box.
A shogi piece pouch is made of a slightly thick fabric with a drawstring strap attached. It is also used to carry the shogi pieces in a pouch when on the go.