The Toseikyo is a very old Japanese game. Although it seems very simple, it takes great skill to win it.

Toseikyo targetOn a small block of wood, some 20 cm high, there is placed a little cloth target with bells that looks a bit like a jester’s cap. The player sits about 2 metres away from it and gets a small paper fan. The opened fan is then thrown towards the target – and if you can knock the target off the block, you win. Usually one player tries a few times and counts the hits before the next person may throw.

Throwing a fanSounds easy, right? But it isn’t! You are not allowed to throw the fan sideways with a flick of the wrist; the proper way is to throw the fan in a straight line from you towards the target – and that makes it really difficult! You need to gauge the force with which you throw the fan just right – too much force and the fan will turn downwards and bury itself in the tatami, too little force and you won’t get far enough.

Just missed the target!It takes a lot of practice to do it right. Apparently, the game is ancient and was already played 1000 years ago at the Heian court. I suppose all those court ladies of leisure had enough time to perfect their skills… Interestingly, I have seen new Toseikyo sets for sale at high-end shops in Kyoto. Nice to see that there is still a market for these kind of things.

2 thoughts on “Toseikyo

    • Oh, you’re coming over! 🙂

      Be warned, those sets are expensive! I went to a shop selling mostly Japanese dolls (for hina matsuri or boys’ festival). The two Toseikyo sets they had cost about 25.000 yen… They also have kai awase sets, by the way. I’ll write about that game at some other time.