What Games Do Japanese Kids Play During Recess?

  • During their free time, such as after lunch time at school and during recess, Japanese kids play games with their friends on the school’s grounds. These are 3 of the more well-known games played by kids in Japan!

    Ashita Tenki ni Naare

    Ashita Tenki ni Naare means “let tomorrow be sunny”. Children play the game by kicking their shoes up to the skies and predicting the weather based on how the shoes land. If the shoe lands with the soles facing up, it means that the weather will be rainy. The shoe that lands with the sole face down implies that the weather will be sunny. If the shoe lands on its side, then it means the weather will be cloudy. Since sunny weather is preferable, some kids will kick their shoes many times until their shoes land accordingly!

    Iro Oni

    Iro Oni means “color demon”. In this game, a person will be selected as “It”, and will be required to pick a color. When a color has been picked, “It” would count from 1 to 10 while the other children find and touch any object which is in the color that “It” has picked. The children who do not manage to touch any object with the color mentioned can be tagged by “It”, thus making the person who is tagged becoming the next “It”.

    Daruma-san ga Koronda

    Daruma-san ga Koronda means “the Dharma Doll fell down”. The game is equivalent to Red Light Green Light. The person who becomes “It” says the sentence “Daruma-san ga Koronda” with their eyes closed and back turned while the other players move closer to “It”. When “It” finishes his sentence, “It” will quickly turn around and the other players must not be caught moving. If “It” spots any player moving, the player will be brought to hold hands with “It”. Then “It” will resume with saying “Daruma-san ga Koronda” until one of the players manage to touch “It”, or break apart the hand-holding between “It” and the captured player, upon which all of them except “It” will run away. “It” will shout “Tomare” (stop) and all players should stop moving. If “It” manages to touch one of the players within 3 steps, the player would become “It”.

    My favorite has got to be Daruma-san ga Koronda. It is often played on game shows and the result is pretty funny even though the players are adults! Do you know any other games that are played by kids in Japan?

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