The Gosei tournament is sponsored by the Newspaper Go Consortium, membership of which has varied over the years. The current members are the 12 newspapers Kahoku Shinpo (Sendai), Niigata Nippo (Niigata), Shinano Mainichi Shinbun (Nagano), Shizuoka Shinbun (Shizuoka), Hokkoku Shinbun (Kanazawa), Kyoto Shinbun (Kyoto), Chugoku Shinbun (Hiroshima), Shikoku Shinbun (Takamatsu), Kochi Shinbun (Kochi), Kumamoto Nichinichi Shinbun (Kumamoto), Minami-Nippon Shinbun (Kagoshima), Okinawa Times (Naha).
Although it is still classed as a major, it is slipping badly behind other tournaments as regards prize money. Top prize is 6.4 million yen.
The Gosei is the successor to, in turn, the Nihon Ki-in Highest Dan Tournament, the Nihon Ki-in First Place Tournament and the All-Japan First Place Tournament. The change to the Gosei was made in 1975 to keep pace with the creation of the new Tengen and Kisei titles.
The title holder is challenged by a challenger who is the winner of a year-long qualification system. Although this has changed, it has always reflected the fact that the precursor tournaments were intended for high-dan players, and so entry is limited to players of 5-dan and above, from either the Nihon Ki-in or the Kansai Ki-in.
Originally there was a 5-man league, the places of which were filled by the winners of five parallel knockouts, which in turn followed a preliminary. Nowadays the final stage is a knockout of 28 players in Round 1, and the 14 winners are joined by two seeds - the loser of the title match and the loser of the previous year's challengers final. The players in third and fourth place in the previous challenger's section, plus two players invited by the sponsors, are also seeded into Round 1 of the final stage. All other places are filled by those successful in the preliminaries.
Thinking time is now 4 hours each. It was originally 5 hours, and at the time this was the shortest time limit of the open tournaments. Komi has always been 5.5 points.
The word Gosei means Go Sage, the same as Kisei, but is an invented Japanese term (the Japanese character for go is not normally used in China).
The first event in this series was the Nihon Ki-in Highest Dan Tournament, which began as a three-game final, but switched to one game in term 2. Komi was 4.5 points. This event introduced the notion of only 5 hours thinking time each, so that games could be finished in one day.
This was replaced after four terms by the Nihon Ki-in First Place Tournament when it reverted to a three-game final (komi still 4.5 points) at the end of a knockout.
This became, with the inclusion of the Kansai Ki-in, the All-Japan First Place Tournament. The final was still a best-of -three (and 4.5 komi) but in term 3 it switched from being a straight fight down to the title match (the final stage was a 32-player knockout) to a system of finding a challenger to play the title holder.
The sponsors in all these events was a newspaper consortium.