Chapter 4
History of Kuroki Goishiten

Kuroki Goishiten’s Mission

(1) Promoting What Makes Kuroki Goishiten’s Clamshell Go Stones So Great

Kuroki Goishiten, which has a history with Hyuga clamshell Go stones dating back more than 100 years, is still in business today thanks to our customers all over the world despite all the various difficulties we have faced over the years. We are truly grateful to all the people who have supported us to date. Everyone here at Kuroki Goishiten would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Since 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has greatly disrupted all manufacturing and services across the globe, forcing changes in our values and behavior. With changes in demand, the aging of Go stone artisans, the difficulty of passing on the techniques involved in making Go stones to the next generation, and the rise of other forms of entertainment, the environment surrounding Go has changed significantly, and we feel that the interest and importance of Go are beginning to wane. In today’s world, you can buy things when you want at the touch of a button anywhere in the world, but in the near future, clamshell Go stones will not be available for everyone to purchase. We have not talked much about this topic until now, but this is an undeniable fact. As just mentioned, the reason for this is the scarcity of resources, artisans, and techniques, meaning clamshell Go stones can only be supplied to people across the globe in a limited quantity every year.

It is very valuable that we maintain this tradition of more than 100 years and pass it on to the next generation. We sincerely hope to pass on the tradition of making Go stones and its history to those who will carry the baton after us. We will renew our determination to continue manufacturing to serve our customers all over the world who truly love clamshell Go stones and recognize their value as being precious, and continue to devote ourselves to this cause.

(2) History of Kuroki Goishiten - Making Japanese Traditional Crafts Popular among the Rest of the World –

(1st-generation Mr. Kuroki Sojiro)
The history of Kuroki Goishiten dates back to 1917 when the first-generation representative, Mr. Kuroki Sojiro, studied under a Go stone artisan in Osaka and started making Go stones. From here, the foundations of Kuroki Goishiten would be laid by the owner’s son and second-generation representative, Kazushi. When Kazushi graduated from high school, he started making Go stones and went on to become a full-fledged Go stone artisan to support his father, Sojiro. In 1966, he succeeded in devising a new cutting machining method that used a diamond drill after 6 years of continuous research. Until then, the edges of the clamshells that had been split into hexagon shapes were polished to gradually round them into a round Go stone. At that time it was an innovative method, and so by cutting out the clamshell as it is done today, the productivity of the creation process improved dramatically. After that, Kazushi shared this technique with other companies in the same industry and contributed to advancing the Go stone industry.
Kazushi Kuroki
(2nd-generation Mr. Kuroki Kazushi)
Hirotaka Kuroki
(3rd-generation Mr. Kuroki Hirotaka)
(Cutting-out method of clamshells)
Kuroki Goishiten was incorporated in 1976, and in 1980, the third-generation representative, Hirotaka, began dealing in Go boards. Furthermore, in 1999, Kuroki Goishiten started selling domestically and overseas via its online store. After that, it expanded its sales network mainly in China, and now as one of only three clamshell Go stone manufacturers in Japan, the store sells Japanese Go-related products to Go enthusiasts all over the world.
Since around 2010, we started selling products made under its exclusive high-quality standards as its own brand “Kuroki Goishiten”. Due to the old-fashioned business practices, there were no products that the clamshell Go stone manufacturer pushed as their own brand, but in 2016, the fourth generation representative Kenshin put the store’s future hopes on the success of the Kuroki Goishiten’s own brand and tried to rebrand the store once again. Kuroki Goishiten adopted “numbered Go stones”, which display a code of authenticity on each Go stone when exposed to black light, for all clamshell Go stone products, and by enhancing quality assurance and measures against counterfeit products, the store was able to build a relationship of trust with our long-standing customers. Currently, more than 70% of our sales are from our overseas customers. We would like to continue to fulfill our mission to share this rare and wonderful Japanese traditional craft and culture with the rest of the world.
Chapter 5. History of Go
A Guide for the Lives of Great Men

Go Story

Chapter 1. White Go Stones
Miraculous Clamshell Go Stones - Clamshell Go Stones Produced in Hyuga -
Chapter 2. White Go Stones
Shin Hamaguri Go Stones - Mexican Clamshell Go Stones -
Chapter 3. Black Go Stones
Supreme Black Stones - Nachiguro-ishi from Kumano City, Mie Prefecture -
Chapter 4. History of Kuroki Goishiten
Kuroki Goishiten’s Mission
Chapter 5. History of Go
A Guide for the Lives of Great Men