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Inscription

by unknown hand, upper center in graphite: 2; lower right in graphite: 91.4398; lower right in graphite: 19B 09; on verso, by unknown hand, center left in graphite: 3; center in typeset print on paper label: "GO". / A PECULIARITY among the Japanese is that they appear to have a prodigious amount of time on their hands. / With us, tradesmen who have but little to do, like to look as if they had much; and any of them caught / playing a game at cards or backgammon in the middle of the day, would be likely to have the fate of "the / idle apprentice" prognosticated for them. But it is otherwise in Japan. All the shops are open, and the shopkeepers / sit on their heels on their mats, exposed to the view of every passer-by. It would be impossible to got through the / native town of Yokohama any day, at any time, without seeing such a scene as is depicted in the accompanying photo- / graph in many of the shops. It is a game rejoicing in the emphatic-sounding name of "G." It is a rude kind of / chess, but we have never seen any foreigner who has troubled himself to master it. In the merchant's warehouse, / the clerks or bantos, and in the retail shops the shopmen, fly to it to kill time whenever business flags; and any foreigner / would come to the conclusion, from the numbers he sees playing at "go," that everything like "occupation" had absolutely "gone."

Provenance

Michael and Jane Wilson, Wilson Centre for Photography, London, acquired 1991; gift to NGA, 2012.