The rainy season has come. After the season, the climate quickly turns to the summer. I don’t know the horror storytelling in the summer time is unique in Japan or not, but I want to introduce you to Japanese traditional horror story “Kaidan”.
Before telling the horror story, I’m going to explain the relationship between the summer season and horror stories in historical context. You might guess the reason is in the high temperature in summer or Obon ceremony, but actually, it continues to the traditional theater culture from Edo era. The theater is so called “Natsu-kyogen(夏狂言)”. In Edo period, there was no air conditioner, and it causes the decline of a number of the audience who come to the theater. For that reason, actors had to go tour to the countryside, and it held in summer, so the play had called “Natsu-Kyogen(夏狂言)”. It was the best way to get the audience for them because the theater is not common in the country side. Therefore, the played contents didn’t have many variations in stories to cut off the cost to open the temporal theater on tour. The most popular contents in “Natsu-Kyogen” was the horror stories. As I mentioned above, Japanese people prefer to the summer season to talk horror stories than other seasons.
There are several famous horror stories, which all Japanese people might know. If you want to know such a stories, please come to our school, our teacher Mrs.Kobayashi will talk to you. (Of course, she is the good Japanese teacher, but also good story teller.)
Even you are not game lover, you might know the company “Nintendo.” However, how many people know the first products of this company? It’s “Hanafuda(花札)”, Japanese origin playing cards. Today, I will introduce the world of Hanafuda.
The history of Hanafuda starts in 16th century, the playing card which originally from Europe had carried by missionaries. This cards game eventually became popular mainly in gambling. However, it was banned in 17th century, because the government had a fear of changing religion and completely closed off contact with the Western Christian world in 1633. This is a so-called “Sakoku(鎖国)” in Japanese.
Although the cards were banned, there are highly demand on using this cards for gambling. This structure prompted people to alter the playing cards to Japanese version, and subsequently, it became the card “Hanafuda”.As mentioned above, this cards was the first products for Nintendo. This company was also reflect this trend of the times.
Let’s get back on track. Hanafuda had developed by regions or communities and it became to have too many rules to grasp the all of it, because this card game was mainly enjoyed in gambling with limited members. This is because, there are many Yakuza movies which gangs playing Hanafuda as gamble. In addition to this factor, the government banned gambling, so it made playing environment more closed. The gamble which include using Hanafuda, is still banned. However, Hanafuda is still popular card game because of its beauty. You should remember some complex rules to enjoy this card game, however the picture of cards will encourage you to remember the rule of Hanafuda、because it is so beautiful.