Decline in Go/Baduk Interest in Korea

I was very surprised and sad to read today’s blog entry about a decline in Go/Baduk interest in Korea. In case you don’t know about this blog already: it is an amazing view inside the life of a 7 dan professional player in Korea, Cho Hye Yeon.

It is interesting also to read this so soon after my Go/Baduk Affected By “Internet Entertainment”? very recent blog entry, where I was commenting on some 2007 statistics which showed a decline in the revenue of Baduk clubs in Korea. My conclusion there was that players moved out of traditional clubs and play online more. After reading Hye Yeon’s blog, though, I understand that there is a real decline in Baduk in Korea: many Baduk schools are closing, less books being published, less children dream of becoming pro players… Sounds very much like the situation in Japan that started in early nineties (maybe earlier?). The reasons for this situation seems to be related to both extra sources of entertainment (when it comes to explain the decline in amateur players) and to the fact that attending top universities in Korea became more difficult, so parents are less inclined to gamble their kids future while letting them study Baduk (when it comes to explain the decline in the number of inseis). Here’s also a quote from a 2 years old blog entry of Mr. Ooijer’s:
So why do all these kids want to be a professional? It is hardly rational. They gamble with their career. Some western Baduk players do not see this hard life and have a much too romantic view about the life of a Baduk professional.
Let’s hope that in the new year 2008 Go/Baduk/Weiqi will grow again.

Happy New Year everybody!

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3 Responses to “Decline in Go/Baduk Interest in Korea”

  1. snorri says:

    Wow. It was probably inevitable, though. The popularity of baduk in Korea always seemed faddishly exaggerated, akin to the spurt in chess popularity during Bobby Fischer’s heyday and poker in the US now.

    If poker started declining in the US now, I wouldn’t say: “how sad” but rather, “about time.”

    As a Go player, I’m all for popularity, but I don’t expect the golden age to last forever. There’s some value in having an exotic hobby.

  2. Sorin says:

    I wouldn’t have any problem with a decline in poker anywhere in the world either since I’m not playing poker :-)

  3. It is inevitable, something has its expiry period. Even Nam Dae Moon Gate has its term. We should expect it, slow down the declining process and have it instutionalised. Probably by doing so it will stays longer.