Interview with Fujita Maiko of Doubutsu Shogi

I came across a very interesting interview with Fujita Maiko (from May 2010), one of the creators of Doubutsu Shogi (Animal Shogi ) and a Shogi (Japanese Chess) professional. Shogi is from many accounts the deepest and most strategic of the Chess family, distinctive because of its drop rule – captured pieces can be used by the capturer – keeping the branching factor high throughout the game, and linking struggles on different sides of the board.

Doubutsu Shogi is a scaled down version, aimed at mothers teaching their children. The board is tiny, just 12 squares with 4 pieces per side, but it is all very attractively depicted. Apparently it was a massive hit in Japan in 2010.

The interview covers how Fujita came to design the game, her views on the tiny proportion of women in Shogi, and on the passing of traditional culture in Japan.

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