Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kokkuri San & Ghosts (狐狗狸仙与鬼)

Kokkuri San is a type of traditional Japanese game similar to the western Ouija board. But as its name implies, this is a game related to calling animal spirits namely the fox. However it can also be used to summon any spirits up for communication. There are many undesirable incidents attributed to Kokkuri San in Japan. For example, in Hyoga Prefecture, 18 high school girls were hospitalized in June 2013 believed to be related to Hokkuri San. Many countries in the world have banned this type of seemingly harmless game. Basically the Japanese version of Kokkuri San is the same as with other types of Ouija Board but it is normally played by two persons.


I was asked to survey a piece of land in Southern Johor by a Japanese investor, so together with an interpreter and two representatives off we went to the worksite. After a day’s work, we were caught in a heavy rain; so we had to seek shelter in a temporary office at the site.


It was getting dark but the rain wasn’t like it will cease soon, so I pulled a chair and took a nap in one corner of the office. The interpreter was engaging in a long conversation with his girlfriend over the phone. The two Japanese representatives were quite restless as there weren’t too many entertainments around and they pulled out a piece of blank paper and started to write some characters on it.


After a while one of them lighted one cigarette and then put a coin on top of the paper. Each of them put their middle fingers onto the coin and they started to chant: “Kokkuri San, Kokkuri San, if you are present, please move this coin…”


It was perhaps after 10 minutes or so, the coin started to move and both of our friends seemed to have indulged in the game. Strange things happened after a while, one of the player started to utter a series of sentences while the other player began to weep in a woman’s voice.


The interpreter and I were stunned for a while, and then I asked the interpreter:


Me: “Hey, what was he saying?”


Interpreter: “Oh, A San was saying that how much he missed his girlfriend and that he was sorry for not returning home on time…”


After another while, the one who weeps started to say something and the interpreter continued: “B San said it is good to have someone remembered her still…”


Gradually I felt something wasn’t right, so I asked to interpreter to speak in Japanese to the thin air asking whatever there were present there to end the conversation for the fear that prolonged conversation might lead to spirit possession. This is the most undesirable case out there without any help.


Luckily, whatever were there were quite obedient. A San and B San regained consciousness as if they were in a long slumber. I was just glad that nothing bad happened. Perhaps the spirits were a Japanese couple who were separated due to WWII. I could only guess.

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