Mommy, Where do Pachinko Machines Come From?

History, Laws and Rules about Pachinko Parlors in JapanThe Japanese ‘Gambling’ Industry and Pachinko Machines

Japanese brainwashing machine or popular casino game? …both?

Pachinko’s humble beginnings started in the most unlikely time in history, the 15th century, in England specifically. These first remnants of what would eventually be called pachinko started when an attempt to bring outdoor based games that were popular, indoors, such as a croquet. These first attempts at these games featured wickets, which soon were exchanged out for pins that could be knocked down. By the 17th century these games changed to include pockets. This eventually became known as billiards.

But how does billiards make way for what is now known as pachinko? In fact before we continue, what the hell is pachinko anyway? Pachinko (パチンコ) is basically like a pinball machine (in fact it means a Japanese form of Pinball), it’s said to be a form of recreational brainwashing in places like arcades. You could say it’s very much just a gambling pinball machine. Pachinko is as popular in Japan as slot machines are in Western casinos. But it’s better to say that a pachinko machine is more so a cousin to the infamous pinball machine. It’s vertical like a pinball machine, but it does not have any flippers to knock the balls back into the gaming arena, instead a pachinko machine will use large amounts of small balls instead.

The person playing will fire the balls off into the machine and basically watch them as they cascade throughout the machine navigating metal pins on the way down. I’m actually sure you’ve seen children toys that are small versions of pachinko. You know that crappy plastic toy with 3 small metal balls and a tiny plastic launcher that sends the balls into the arena? In fact there is some antique handheld bagatelle pachinko games that are still being passed around the industry as fascinations, but, they are basically where these little crappy kid games came from! (And I know you know what I’m talking about!)

Old Handheld Pinball Kids GameBut what’s the point of pachinko, and what exactly gets the Japanese off by playing this mundane game? Well as the rules have it as the balls navigate throughout the arena they could find pockets that could catch the ball, which then will many times release additional small metal balls. You can very well say that these balls are basically like tickets you’d get from a ski-ball machine. You can then take these metal balls and exchange them for a pikachu pencil or hello kitty eraser. Of course these pachinko machines quickly have become more electronically stimulating, which keeps people brainwash… I mean entertained for hours and hours at a time.

These pachinko parlors in Japan are called Pachislo or Pachislots and these areas truly look like an overactive casino in Las Vegas, but instead of getting cash for playing you will instead exchange your balls for tokens or tickets instead. Since gambling for cash is illegal in Japan you have to jump through a few hoops to finally get paid for your big pachinko win by heading to a separate establishment from the parlor to receive your money for your tokens or tickets. But just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean the parlors are not raking it in big time, in this BBC Travel article, Pachinko parlors are said to make 30 TRILLION yen per year (which is about 250 billion USD).

But lets get back to where this crazy game even came from, but lets jump a bit forward in time. We know that the humble beginnings of this game also assisted some other well known gaming tables such as billiards. But it wasn’t until the 1920’s when a children’s toy called the Korinto Gemu (Corinth Game) was built. This game was based around an American named Corinthian Bagatelle. It first arrived as an adult entertainment pastime in Nagoya, Japan in the 1930’s and of course spread from there. In the 1980’s pachinko machines were simple mechanical gaming machine which used bells to indicate what was happening inside the machine. But I guess the best way to show how pachinko evolved over time would be to show a progression of pachinko machines over the years.

Early Version of Pachinko
1910 – Circle of Pleasure
A 1930s Version of Pachinko
1930’s Bagatelle Pachinko Machine
1953 evolved version of bagatelle's pachinko machine
1953 Successive Shot
1974 Nishijin Pachinko Machine
1974 Nishijin Powerflash
What the Japanese now know as a Pachinko Machine Arcade Game
Modern Day Pachinko Machine

So there you have it, a tid bit of this popular arcade game being played constantly in Japan. Remember, as long as you have a loop-hole and bright and loud flashing pachinko parlor you can certainly make a good amount of money playing with steel balls whilst in Japan, or better yet, funding their pachinko empire and the Japanese economy. You can try playing pachinko for free here, be warned, you will not stop playing, it’s ridiculous!

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Blood Type Theory and it’s Effect on Japanese History + Culture

Japanese Blood Type History and Cultural ImpactKetsueki-Gata – Personality Traits Through Blood Type – A Japanese Pseudoscience or Observed Truth?

What exactly got the Japanese to be so darn interested in their blood type? I’d say it’s not too far off of why people believe zodiac signs and astrology. Could blood type really determine personality traits?

In Japan there is a theory or belief if you will called ketsueki-gata, it’s the belief that a persons blood type can predict personality, temperament and compatibility with those they surround themselves with. You can say ABO blood type or ketsueki-gata is very similar to astrological signs.

This idea came about from scientific racism which was developed in Europe during the early 1900s, in which Japan used blood type to countermeasure against it. This belief started with the publications of a man name Masahiko Nomi in the early 70’s. Overall though the scientific community in Japan overall discredits and dismisses these beliefs as simply pseudoscience, mostly because of the lack of evidence that personality traits exist based on blood type.

Although, some independent studies are suggesting there is a significant relationship to personality and blood type, it all really depends on which side of the scientific circle you want to listen to. But lets take this almost to a semi Aryian level, as this blood type idea was being used for more so ‘dark’ ideas.

It was 1927 and a professor Takeji Furukawa just finished publishing a paper called ‘The Study of Temperament Through Blood Type‘ in the Psychological Research journal. The ideas within this paper quickly became popular inside Japan, although Furukawa lacked credentials off this basis. But the military at the time was commissioned to study ways to breed the most perfect soldiers. (Adolf Hilter anyone?).

In another study which Furukawa compared was the distribution of blood types between two groups of ethnic peoples. The first was the Formosans of Taiwan and their local Ainu people of Hokkaido. These studies of course stemmed from political interests. After Japan’s occupation of Taiwan which then lead to the invasion of China in 1895, these people vehemently opposed the Japanese as they occupied their lands.

Furukawa’s research was set to expose the inner racial traits of the Taiwanese who opposed the Japanese in such beastly and crude manners. After Furukawa finished his research of the Taiwanese he found that over %40 of them had type O blood and this is where more of the blood type theory continued. He concluded that the rebelliousness came from a genetic disposition stemming from their blood type. This ‘conclusion’ was finalized once they studied the Ainu people and found that only %20 of them had type O blood and overall they were considered to be passive. As we continue down this path the easier it is to see how Japan got along with Nazi Germany so well. 😛

It was soon decided by Furukawa that the Japanese should in essence interbreed with the Taiwanese to reduce the number of people with the type O blood. But no matter what really was behind this idea, there are studies showing certain real differences between stress levels of type O blood and others, so perhaps the Japanese were able to see this, but perhaps acted in very odd ways to perpetuate racial ‘cleansing’. To date Masahiko Nomi’s books are still popular and his son Toshitaka Nomi is still continuing his research by running an Institute called Blood Type Humanics, he also established the Human Science ABO center in 2004.

My personal conclusion to this? I honestly believe there is truth in ketsueki-gata, perhaps not what these early pioneers set off to prove, but there are somethings to consider when looking into this ‘fad’. But what happens in society when a person gets rejected from society because of these ‘predictions’? Overall from the research I’ve compiled and the stories I’ve read, many Japanese are haunted by the fact that they have a certain blood type, and many times will lie to avoid being turned down for a job or University… or at times a romantic involvement.

Japanese blood type personality chart

Type A

Best traits     Earnest, sensible, reserved, patient, responsible
Worst traits     Fastidious, overearnest, stubborn, tense

Type B

Best traits     Passionate, active, doer, creative, strong
Worst traits     irresponsible, unforgiving, “going own way”

Type AB

Best traits     Cool, controlled, rational, sociable, adaptable
Worst traits     Critical, indecisive, forgetful, irresponsible, “split personality”

Type O

Best traits     Confident, self-determined, optimistic, strong-willed, intuitive
Worst traits     Self-centered, cold, doubtful, unpredictable, “workaholic”

For more information check out this katsueki-gata infograph, as there is some additional theories and some more history behind this interesting cultural ideology in Japan.


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List of Unique Japanese Cafes & History

History of Japanese Cafes and the Interesting List of Diffferent Types of Cafe in JapanDiscover the Amazing World of Japanese Cafes

From Community Centers for the Elderly to Vampire Cafes in Tokyo. Japan Has Anything You Can Think Of… in Cafe Form!

Chances are even if you’ve never bothered to look into Japanese culture, you most likely have heard of Japanese cafes. From cat cafes, maid cafe even to vampires and beyond the Japanese cafe have truly evolved over the last 100 years from when they were first originated in the late 1800’s.

In 1877 soon after the Meiji period started for Japan (1868), Japan begun to import coffee, and soon after cafes started to appear.  At the peak of the cafe boom in Japan there was around 155,000 cafes across the nation, but during WWII supply of coffee stopped being important into Japan and it wasn’t until many years after the war that coffee begun to be imported back into Japan yet again. From that point about 88,000 cafes now exists in Japan.

From that point once coffee begun to be imported again the cafes across Japan started to evolve into something more then just a place to sit down and drink coffee. These cafes started to create places for people to watch TV, listen to the radio and to listen to record players of classical music. But from this point something happened, people got even more creative with how to setup their cafes. These business owners created sub-niches within the cafe scene.

But with all the weird and wacky cafes that are available to visit in Japan, there is one cafe that has started to appear more and more across Japan. The creation of community cafes have begun its rise in popularity, being that the Japanese in general have a long life span, there is now a large percentage of the population of Japan whom are elderly. These community centers are now appearing to give this older generation of Japan a place to go to talk with neighbors and to be of help to one another, in sense it’s like an extremely affordable elderly care program ran through cafes for as little as 300 yen a day per person. This trend will continue to climb, and being that Japan’s birth rate is declining, there will be more elderly in Japan by 2060 and because of this, there will not be enough young people in the work force to take care of the older generation, so the emergence of these community cafes are a basic social evolution at play which will hopefully take some burden off the social structure as time goes on.

But maintaining social connection and movement keep the elderly from becoming sick and then dependent on the system, so it’s a brilliant idea. But besides a very helpful movement within the Japanese cafes what kind of weird cafes are in Japan? I went out on a mission to find as many different cafes in Japan as I could, this is what I found:

List of Different Japanese Cafes:

  1. Manga Cafe – Tea, Manga, Games and more!
  2. Business Cafe – A central hotspot for the business guru. (Wifi Included!)
  3. Maid Cafe – Yes, be served your cha by a beautiful Japanese maid!
  4. Cat Cafe – Pet your feline friend while enjoying a relaxing day at the cafe!
  5. Community Cafe – Where the elderly gather to talk with others in their neighborhood.
  6. Butler Cafe – That’s right pretty boys to serve you tea, only makes sense!
  7. Vampire Cafe – What would the world do without this? Blood tea anyone?
  8. Alice in Wonderland Cafe – Do you take LSD with your tea?
  9. Kawaii Monster Cafe – Super crazy kawaii monster cafe! Reminds me of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
  10. Rabbit Cafe – Enjoy the company of some stinky boring rabbits while drinking coffee.
  11. Peter Rabbit Cafe – Do you love Peter Rabbit? Hopping Down the Bunny Trail…
  12. Dog Cafe – For those whose parents said no when they brought Brutis the bulldog home late one night.
  13. Bird Cafe – Enjoy a screeching good time next to a bunch of noisy birds in the morning.
  14. Owl Cafe – After getting a caffeine high you can totally mess around with an owl.
  15. Soineya Cafe – Literally a sleep together cafe. Also known as the cuddling cafe. Pick your almost not legal girl and sleep with her for $10/hr! (Sicko… I really mean just sleep!)
  16. Mom Cafe – For those who love a good… mmm… Mom, while drinking their coffee.
  17. Kigurumi Cafe – A cafe where employees dress up as full blown Anime characters (complete with the overly large eyes!)
  18. Cross-Dressing Maid Cafe – Also called the Josou Danshi Maid Cafe……it’s a…. Cross-Dressing Maid Cafe
  19. Granny Cafe – For those who want a more refined Mom cafe experience :\
  20. Reptile Cafe – Drink tea, play with reptiles, walk out with blood and scratches all over.
  21. Gothic Cafe – Also known as a Christon Cafe, enjoy a gothic period setting while drinking tea and eating crumpets.
  22. Spouse Cafe – You can literally buy a wife or a husband for the night. They’ll cook you a meal at the cafe once you get ‘home’… But sorry they don’t leave afterward!
  23. Gundam Cafe – For those who like ridiculously large machine battling robots and tea!
  24. Moomin Cafe – For those who love Moomin of course!
  25. Sakuragaoka Cafe – Drink your morning tea with an adorable goat on antique furniture… sounds absolutely smashing!
  26. Jazz Cafe – Smoke a bunch of cigarettes with coffee and jam out to some Miles Davis.
  27. Karaoke Cafe – These are pretty popular, they are more so just karaoke hubs, but many are cafes as well!
  28. Chocolate Cafe – Where everything is made of chocolate!
  29. Cinnamoroll Cafe
  30. Forest Cafe – Cafe’s with a lot of plants. A more natural Cafe experience.
  31. Tree House Cafe – Cafe’s built up high on trees. For those of you who have always loved being high off the ground up in trees.
  32. Gudetama Cafe – A kawaii food place.
  33. Hammock Cafe – Sit or lay in a hammock while you drink, eat, and relax.
  34. Hello Kitty – For all of you kawaii shiro neko fans!
  35. My Little Pony – For everyone who loves colorful rainbow ponies.
  36. Kapibarasan – Cute place to eat.
  37. Mario – For the classic gamer at heart.
  38. Ninja Restaurant – Not exactly a cafe, but still an original of Japan.
  39. Ojipan Cafe – Cute little bear cafe.
  40. Shirokuma Cafe – Similar to the Ojipan cafe, it’s a polar bear and panda bear and sloth cafe.
  41. Peanuts – If you are a fan of the classic cartoon, or Snoopy, there is even a special cafe for you.
  42. Penguin Bar – Not a Cafe, but a cool animal themed place to eat and play with penguins.
  43. Pokemon Cafe – With Pikachu as the main charater!
  44. Pompompurin Cafe – Cute Pomppompurin cafe.
  45. Totoro Cafe – Similar to the Owl Cafe but without actual owls and only cute figurines

So that’s it so far, this is the list I found that I feel comfortable sharing, there are even more specific niche cafes in Japan. But, that’s another story, for another time.


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