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Kokkuri game

. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .


Kokkuri 狐狗狸 Table-Turning

This game was introduced from Shimoda, via the first foreigners there, and soon spread all over Japan.

For example three sit around the table. The husband asks if his wife has cheated on him. The husband, wife and one friend sit in silence, then the table moves toward the wife ... the result, they get a divorce . . .
Such are the real-life stories around the Kokkuri game.


Kokkuri (こっくり, 狐狗狸) or Kokkuri-san (こっくりさん)
is a Japanese game popular during the Meiji period that is also a form of divination, based partially on Western table-turning. The name kokkuri is an onomatopoeia meaning "to nod up and down", and refers to the movement of the actual kokkuri mechanism. The kanji used to write the word is an ateji, although its characters reflect the popular belief that the movement of the mechanism is caused by supernatural agents
(ko 狐, foxes; gu 狗, tengu; ri 狸, tanuki).

The word kokkuri refers to the game, the actual physical apparatus, and the spirit(s) believed to possess the apparatus in order to communicate with humans. The physical mechanism is composed of three bamboo rods arranged to make a tripod, upon which is placed a small pot, which is covered by a cloth. Three or more people will place their hands upon the kokkuri and ask the spirits a question, which that spirit will in theory answer by moving the pot or remaining still.

Japanese folklorist Inoue Enryoo wrote about the kokkuri phenomenon, denouncing it as mere superstition, yet his efforts did not succeed in depopularizing the game. Some scientific figures of the age attempted to explain the phenomena with the more scientific sounding yet ultimately equally mysterious trope "human electricity".
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source : Rumor/column


Inoue Enryō 井上 円了 Inoue Enryo
March 18, 1858 - June 6, 1919

Japanese, Buddhist philosopher, educator, and nationalist; one of the most influential Buddhists of the Meiji era. Ordained as a priest in his father's Jodo Shinshu Ōtani branch 眞宗大谷派. Graduated with a doctorate from Tokyo Imperial University in 1896 focusing mainly on Western philosophy. He renounced his status as a Buddhist priest for the lay life, but remained committed to 'reforming Buddhism.'

He is the founder what later became Toyo University 東洋大學. There he established a new discipline for the study of the mysterious he called yokaigaku 妖怪學. A prolific author, Inoue published numerous works on Buddhism, philosophy, education, religion, and monsters. He is most famous for Bukkyō Katsuron, 佛教活論 and his popular lectures on the mysterious.

He contributed to attempts to 'modernize' Buddhism by arguing for its compatibility with Western philosophy and science. Inoue spent the later part of his life traveling the country giving lectures discouraging belief in monsters. He died 6th of June 1919 while giving a lecture in Dalian, China.
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Introduction to Yokai Studies and On Kokkuri
by Inoue Enryo / Tr. Yoda Hiroko, Matt Alt

"Many people believe that there are certain things that transcend reason - things that exist beyond human knowledge and cannot be understood using it. In other words, they are extra-logical. However, extra-logical does not necessarily mean unknowable."

Clairvoyance. Possessions. Mind-reading. Dream projection. Encounters with demons and divinities. This ebook contains translations of two key essays by the Japanese scholar, philosopher, and "ghostbuster" Enryo Inoue (1858 - 1919). The first is the 1891 "Introduction to Yokai Studies," which gives an overview to the academic field he founded to debunk urban legends and rural superstitions. The second lets readers see Inoue putting his analytical techniques to work on an actual case: "On Kokkuri," his investigation of a Japanese fad derived from the then-popular American Spiritualist pastime of table turning séances. Inoue’s prolific efforts to tackle the hows and whys of the supernatural proved hugely influential in late 19th and early 20th century Japan, but only snippets have ever been translated into English. These two selections represent a quick overview of how Inoue categorized and analyzed mysterious phenomena.
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Yookai gendan 妖怪玄談
コックリの原因を論ず the factors behind kokkuri

source : cards

Yokaigaku 妖怪学全集 Study of Monsters


A humorous Kyogen play

Kokkuri banashi 狐狗狸噺 The Kokkuri Story

A female wolf, a yamabushi mountain ascetic and a tanuki priest make fun of
Taro Kaja 太郎冠者, the Kyogen Comic servant.


. Ghosts (yookai妖怪, bakemono 化け物) .

. Oni, Japanese Demons and Art 鬼 と美術t .

. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .

***** Halloween ハロウィーン


. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .

. Tohoku after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011

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1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

Inoue Enryō (井上円了, 1858 – 1919)
Tetsugakudo Koen 哲学堂公園 Philosophy Hall Park
with many monsters and Yokai