Sakata Eio was born February 15, 1920 in Tokyo, Japan. After winning most of the major titles in the 1950s, in 1961 he finally took the Honinbo title from Takagawa Kaku who had held it for a record nine consecutive terms. In 1963, Sakata captured the Meijin title, making him the first player simultaneously to hold the two titles Meijin-Honinbo.
Sakata's peak came in 1964, when he won 30 games and lost only two and held seven major titles: Meijin, Honinbo, Nihon Ki-in Championship, Asahi Pro Best Ten, Oza, Nihon Kiin Number One, and NHK Cup.
Sakata is now 88 and lives in Tokyo. He is retired but still active.
This book, "Modern Joseki and Fuseki, Vol. 1", was Sakata's first book published in English. It is now regarded as a classic in Go literature. It is also the first book published by The Ishi Press. Published in 1968, this book along with two follow-up volumes by Sakata Eio, made The Ishi Press the world's leading publisher on the game of go.
The cover photo of this book is historic. It shows the three leading go players in the world at that time, plus the strongest female go player in the world at that time.
In the picture is Sakata Eio, facing, playing against Takagawa Kaku (1915-1986). The spectator is Go Seigen, who also has a claim to being the greatest go player of the 20th century. He was born May 19, 1914 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, southeast China. His Chinese name is Wu Qing Yuan, which transliterated into Japanese becomes Go Seigen. He is still alive at age 94.
The woman in the photo is Reiko Kitani, who won the Women's Championship Tournament six times. Not only was she the strongest woman go player of her era, but she was the daughter, the wife, and the mother of the leading go players of their respective times. Born December 23, 1939 in Kanagawa, Japan, she was the daughter of Kitani Minoru, 9-dan, the wife of Kobayashi Koichi, 9 dan, and the mother of Kobayashi Izumi, born 1977, who has held most of the major Women Titles at one time or another. Tragically, Reiko died of breast cancer in April, 1996.