Few questions from the future interview in Goama magazine with Hirotaka Kuroki, the manager of the biggest company in Japan, creating Go equipment (gobans, stones, bowls, etc)
What was the most expensive goban, sold by your company? Who bought it?
In my experience, Hyuga Kaya Masame board, 6.5-sun (19.6cm thick) priced at 20 million JPY (US$ 250,000) was the most expensive one, purchased by a president of Japanese real estate company.
Do you know other cases, when goban was used as a present for famous politician, except Obama-Hu story?
In old days, there was a Japanese custom that local government officials often delivered valuable gifts to central government officials or Congress persons, such as high quality Go board and stones for the purpose to get more budget for local government, but it is illegal activities and strictly prohibited now. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates came over to Japan several years ago to give a lecture at a university. At that time, he was granted a set of Hyuga Kaya Go board and clamshell stones as a token of gratitude. He was so happy to receive it because he enjoyed playing Go game when he was a university student.
What do you think about Go bowls and stones, created by Igor Grishin from mammoth ivory and rhino horn.
The rarity of this material make this item valuable, I think, but they do not function as Go bowls since they have no lid to put other player’s Go stones. The price and value will be determined by the supplier and customer. Long time ago, I have made Go stones from elephant ivory. Today the Washington Treat prohibits its use so we can no longer make it. If it is possible to make thick Go stones from mammoth ivory, I want to try one more time.