When one thinks of divination, many methods of communicating with spirits or seeking knowledge of the future come to mind. Popular amongst Japanese students is a game called kokkuri. The object of the game is to contact a spirit, known as kokkuri-san, which is believed to be a mixture of a fox, raccoon, and dog, and ask it questions. That, along with the history of the game, makes it a good choice for this week’s Nightmare Fuel.
The name kokkuri, which means “to nod up and down,” refers to the original version of the game. You play it by tying three bamboo rods together at one end and standing them like a tripod and balancing a wooden lid or metal pot on top. Two people or more place their hands on the disc and ask questions of the kokkuri-san. This version was more popular in the late 1800s.
The more modern version of the game is like an ouija board. You start by taking a blank sheet of 8.5 x 11-inch paper and drawing a picture of a torii, or the entrance to a Shinto shrine, on top in red ink. Then write Yes and No on either side of the drawing, along with letters and numbers beneath it in black ink. You’ll want to prop a window or door open for kokkuri-san to enter and leave and use a coin as a planchette for the spirit to converse with. When you are done, you must close the session, burn the paper, scatter the ashes, and spend the coin.
As with using an ouija board, you want to play this game with caution and never play alone. It is said that playing the game too often can make it easier for the spirit to stay and potentially possess you. These were some reasons that sparked mass hysteria in Japan, causing the schools to forbid the game from ever being played on their grounds.
Whether you believe these games can communicate with spirits or not, I recommend treating whoever you are speaking to with respect. You never know if it’s a cunning spirit of mischief.
Until next time, Addicts.