This amazing show, “Ningen Shogi”, is held as part of the “Tendo Sakura Matsuri Festival” that celebrates the arrival of spring in Tendo City, Yamagata Prefecture in the Tohoku region, that boasts the largest production of Shogi pieces in Japan. A variety of attractions can be seen during the festival, including lighting up of cherry blossoms, stalls, people carrying a portable shrine and traditional dances, but Ningen Shogi is one of the most popular attractions.
Just like many board games in the world, in Shogi, 2 players (called Kishi) battle by moving pieces of different roles in order to capture the king. The time of the battle of Ningen Shogi is set to 400 years ago when warriors battled all the time. Considering warriors in armor and women in clothes for battle as pieces, the game of professional Kishi is recreated on a 16m-long (52ft), 14m-wide (46ft) huge board.
Even if you do not know the rules of Shogi, you can still enjoy Ningen Shogi because you can see the battle formation and the way they attack with human pieces. The sight where enemies calmly sit back to back, which can never be seen in the actual battlefield, is something which can only be seen on the board game. Brightly colored warriors in armor and female warriors on the yellow board, surrounded by cherry blossoms in full bloom, will be an unforgettable sight.