Sun Realty Blog

Japanese New Years Games

December 27, 2021

There are 3 major games that the Japanese play especially during the New Years holiday.

Hagoita / Hanetski
Wooden Paddle used as a good luck charm. 2 players just like playing badminton without a net between them rally with a shuttlecock made from hard soapberry and very colorful feathers. The paddle could be plain wood with a hand painted scene or face or very elaborate made with wood and obi and kimono material, faces of Kabuki characters are designed.

Diamond/ Rectangular or Hexagonal shape kites, all the designs signify good luck. Kite flying is done by many family members.

Card game originating from the Portuguese word “ carta “ in the 16th century. Players read out a poem or proverb. Player who identifies the correct picture, gains the point.

Other minor games are the following:

Players are mostly girls either 2 players or single. Toss up colorful bean bags just like you would playing Jacks. The principal is the same.

Just like “ Pin the tail on the donkey”, Except it is to pin the parts of a face on a Lady. Placing the face blind folded, Japanese believe laughter brings Happiness and Luck which we call “ Fuku “.

A wooden round disk with an axial point running the center comes narrow, which adds to the weight and balance. This game is to compete with others as to how long the Koma is able to spin. People do invent other methods on how to play this game. The basic method of play is the following:
Wind a string around directly on the Koma and let it fly.
Wind the string directly on the axle, pull the string and let it turn.
Apparently the game came from China, however the Koma already existed in Egypt around 1500 BC.

There are many other games mostly played during the New Year holiday, depending on the prefecture of Japan having their own traditional games. Something you might want to explore.

If you have a chance, enjoy some of these games.

HAPPY NEW YEAR the year of the TIGER