Kokkuri-san is the most famous scary game in Japan. It is similar to the ouija board and is mostly played by Japanese schoolchildren who want to summon a spirit so they can ask questions about the future.
“Kokkuri-san, Kokkuri-san, tell me, when is the date of my death?”
Two Japanese girls watch in breathless anticipation as a 10 Yen coin begins to slide across a sheet of paper, slowly spelling out the answer.
Kokkuri-san is Japan’s answer to the Ouija board and it has been played in schoolrooms across the country for years. The game became so widespread in Japan that it sparked several hysterias in the media and many schools officially banned students from playing Kokkuri-san.
Using a ouija board can be dangerous because it can accidentally summon demons or open people up to the possiblity of being possessed. Kokkuri-san is much less dangerous since the spirit who is summoned is a trickster spirit from the Shinto religion.
Kokkuri-san is the name of the spirit who is summoned during the game and provides the answers. It is an animal spirit that is a mixture between a fox, a dog and a raccoon. Kok = kitsune (fox), Ku = inu (dog), and Ri = tanuki (raccoon). The fox can be either a trickster or a teacher, the dog is loyal and protecting and the raccoon dog is full of mischief but also a bringer of good luck. All of these qualities are combined in Kokkuri-san.
Young people ask many questions like, “Kokkuri-san, who loves me?” or “Kokkuri-san, will I become rich and famous?”, but just remember that there are some questions you are better off not knowing the answer to.
To play Kokkuri-san, you need at least two people, a sheet of paper, a pen and a coin.
Step 1: Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a “torii” (a traditional Japanese gate) at the top in red ink. Write “YES” and “NO” on either side of the torii. Beneath this, write one row of numbers (from 0 to 9) and three rows of letters (from A to Z).
Step 2: Open a window or a door so that Kokkuri-san will be able to enter the room. The torii represents the gateway to a Shinto shrine and the spirit will enter and exit through it.
Step 3: Place a coin on the red torii. Each person should put their index finger on the coin.
Step 4: Call the spirit by saying, “Kokkuri-san, Kokkuri-san, if you’re here, please move this coin.”
Step 5: You can ask Kokkuri-san whatever questions you like. It will move the coin to spell out the answer.
Step 6: To end the game, you must ask Kokkuri-san to leave by saying, “Kokkuri-san, Kokkuri-san, please return home.” The coin will move to YES and then come to a rest on the red torii.
step 7: When you are certain Kokkuri has left, you must destroy the paper. Either tear it to pieces or burn it. You must also spend the coin you used before the end of the next day.
WARNING: Kokkuri-san is not dangerous and it is a much safer alternative to the ouija board. However, we still don’t recommend that you play it. Many people can become upset and depressed if they receive answers they do not like. Also, always remember that Kokkuri-san is a trickster spirit and can easily lie to you.