A Guest Post by Writer JR –
Shogi is the Japanese variant of chess, and was the first of that family of games to include the ability to drop captured pieces onto one’s own side. This is perhaps because of the historical practice of mercenaries to change their allegiance when they were captured.
Though the Kanji that are used to label the pieces may have kept some people away from the game, international editions of Shogi have not proven popular. As with many Japanese practices, kyu and dan ranks are used to rate Shogi players of various levels. Interestingly enough, professionals in the Japan Shogi Association are not permitted to publicly play computers without permission from that organization.