Aji: The Meaning

Aji (味) is the Japanese word for “taste“ or “flavor“ as something inherently human that we feel, but we can't necessarily place our finger on what it actually is. The kanji character can be broken cleanly its left and right kanji radicals as “mouth 👄” and “end 🌲🔝” — the implication being the end-state, or outcome, feeling you will get after something has entered your mouth.

Aji: The Art of Possibility

From the essay hosted by the American Go Association entitled: "Richard Bozulich on Kissinger on China and Go" via usgo.org

"Aji is the most basic strategic concept of go. In games between strong players, it underlies every maneuver that takes place. Without an understanding of this concept, the subtle strategies of go can’t be appreciated.

Aji is a Japanese word that means “taste” in the sense that “food tastes good.” However, what this word really implies when used in a go context is “aftertaste”. It refers to the possibilities that remain in a position after a local skirmish has been played.

In the diagram, White has just played the marked stone, but the two marked black stones on the top right still have aji."