How to beat and play Kokkuri-San Game like in Tomodachi Game

Tomodachi Game
Round one in Tomodachi Game is called Kokkuri-San. Pic credit: Okuruto Noboru.

I’ve become obsessed with Tomodachi Game. So, whenever the anime finishes a game, I will tell you about its history, how to play it, how it differs from the version we see in Tomodachi Game, and how to beat it.

If you haven’t seen Tomodachi Game Episode 3, I’ll refer to a certain someone as Traitor. Or, Main Traitor, because I’m not convinced, there’s only one person the group needs to worry about.

Everyone has secrets, and some people will do anything to keep them. For example, we know someone stole the 2 million yen from the class trip fund and paid Manabu so the group of friends could play the Tomodachi Game.

But we don’t know who the debt belongs to. Or if the debt is real.

Tomodachi Game story summary

If you haven’t read any previous articles about the Tomodachi Game anime, here’s a short version.

Tomodachi Game is about five teenagers who are friends. In Episode 1, we learn the class is taking a trip, but each student must pay 70,000 yen.

Our main character, Yuuichi, lives alone and is poor. The fate of his parents is unknown, but we know that his mother was in the hospital. An older man that could be his father or grandfather is in a flashback, but we don’t know if he’s still alive.

Makoto Shibe is the first friend we meet. He’s the son of a politician and wealthy enough to tell Yuuichi that his father would have lent Yuuichi the money for the trip, prompting Shiho Sawaragi to approach and lecture Makoto.

She’s the daughter of a police officer and is also the girl Makoto likes. A fact known to everyone else, but she doesn’t like him in a romantic sense.

The smartest boy in class, Tenji Mikasa, walks over with Yutori Kokorogi to calm Shiho down. Tenji’s father was a prosecutor, and we don’t know about Yutori’s parents. Episode 3 hints she lives with her mother, but we do know that Yutori loves manga and anime.

An excellent hobby to have because her knowledge gives us a clue to what we can expect from the games. Sadly, someone steals the money for the trip, which is 2 million yen altogether.

Days pass and the friends are kidnapped.

Tomogachi Game
Is there more than one traitor in Tomodachi Game? Pic credit: Okuruto Noboru.

Welcome to the Tomodachi Game

The friends find themselves in a white room, and Manabu greets them with a cheerful voice. Yutori tells us that the odd mascot is from an old anime that isn’t on the air due to its graphic content.

I wouldn’t let Manabu get behind me at any time if I was there. Manabu says the friends are going to play a simple game with him. If the friends do well, they can win 2 million yen per round and pay off the 20 million yen they owe.

Yuuichi freaks out and says they don’t owe Manabu anything, but Manabu informs Yuuchi that the debt must belong to one of his friends since he doesn’t know what Manabu is talking about.

Makoto calms Yuuichi down, and Tenji calls Manabu a criminal. The friends are being held against their will and didn’t come here voluntarily.

Shiho joins in and declares that their parents must be looking for them right now. Manabu quickly pops their bubbles and states that the friends are the ones who want to play.

And more importantly, the friends are not prisoners. They can walk away at that moment, and everything will be fine. The only problems are that Manabu gets to keep the 2 million yen he received as payment, and the debt owner has to pay the debt by themselves.

I’d leave right then. Manabu leaves them alone so they can decide if they want to play. Yuuichi attempts to find out who has the debt, but he gets gaslighted by his friends.

Shiho says they shouldn’t try to find out who has the debt because she doesn’t believe the person meant any harm and is counting on them as friends. Makoto declares he would’ve lent them money anyway, and Tenji doesn’t need to know who it is since it’s one of their group.

Yutori finishes with, they’re friends after all, and that’s what friends are for. Yuuichi is shocked. Helping your friends is good, but does that logic apply to this situation?

The friends don’t know where they are. They don’t know if they can trust Manabu, and they don’t know if anyone is looking for them. But the gaslighting isn’t over yet.

Manabu asks Yuuichi if he doubts his friends. Why does he need to know the reason behind the debt? If Yuuichi doesn’t like the cause, will he abandon his friends?

What’s more important? Friends or money? Yuuichi says his friends are more important than money, which was their last chance to walk away.

What is the Kokkuri-San Game?

I’ll go over more of the characters further down, but now it’s time to learn about Japan’s most famous scary game. I haven’t played it, and I don’t intend to.

All of the information I have is from the internet and anime. If you choose to play Kokkuri-San, please, follow the rules/instructions. I don’t know if Kokkuri-San is real but mess with the Spirit World at your own risk.

The origins of the Kokkuri game, or the spirit of the coin, aren’t clear. But most believe it to be the result of sailors introducing Japan to Table Turning.

But Japan didn’t have a lot of tables back then, so they stacked three-round rice containers on top of each other. Rather than turn, these containers leaned.

The word, Kokkuri, is made of three animal spirits. A fox, a dog, and a tanuki or raccoon dog. In Japan, foxes are both tricksters and teachers.

Dogs are loyal and protective, while the tanuki is mischievous and can bring good fortune/luck. This means that Kokkuri-San can lie but is also kind-hearted.

Follow the rules, and everything is fine. However, many believe that Kokkuri-San is a safer form of the Ouji Board. I don’t see it this way, and I’ll explain why in the rules.

How to play the Kokkuri-San game

There are slight differences, but you need a piece of paper, a pen or marker (some say you need a red pen/marker and a black one), a coin big enough for everyone to rest their index fingers on easily (the bigger, the better), and you must play in a room with at least one window or door.

Kokkuri-San needs at least two people… never play alone. This is to protect oneself, as Kokkuri-San possesses the players to move the coin.

I’ve watched a couple of videos of someone playing by themselves, and nothing happened. You can play anytime and anywhere as long as you have the supplies and in a room.

Once you’re ready to begin, put the paper on a flat surface and draw a Tori or Shinto gate near the middle of the top part of the page. Next, write “yes” and “no” on either side of the Tori.

Write the numbers 0 through 9 underneath and write the alphabet in three rows at the bottom of the page. It doesn’t matter what language you use. Then, open a door or window.

Place the coin on the Tori, and each player must put one of their index fingers on it. Do not remove your finger until the game is over. Start the game by saying, “Kokkuri-San, Kokkuri-San, are you there? Please say yes.”

The exact wording, as well as how many questions you can ask, differs. The idea is to invite Kokkuri-San into the room. If the coin doesn’t move, try calling a few times again.

If the coin hasn’t moved in five or ten minutes, then Kokkuri-San isn’t there. You can remove your fingers and try again later. Then, tear the paper up (some claim it has to be in 48 pieces) or burn it.

Never attempt to reuse a paper from a Kokkuri-San game. You must spend the coin from the game (anywhere from 24 to 72 hours). It doesn’t matter what you buy, and it’s best to spend it as soon as possible.

Failure to destroy the paper or spend the coin can invite Kokkuri-San or something worse to follow you until you get rid of the items properly.

Remember that Kokkuri-San is a trickster and may lie to you if the coin moves to “no,” then end the game immediately! Instead, say, “Thank you for coming now; please go back to where you came.”

Do not attempt to question it. Please do not remove your fingers until you’re confident it’s gone. And this goes without saying, but never panic.

The coin has to move to the “yes” and then to the Tori gate. Keep asking it to leave until these two steps are met. As soon as you feel safe, destroy the paper and close the door/window.

Spend the coin as soon as possible. If the coin moves to “yes,” you may begin asking questions and if you’re asking multiple, move the coin to the Tori between each question.

Should the coin go to the Tori gate on its own, Kokkuri-San either doesn’t know or doesn’t wish to answer. So do not repeat the question.

A final warning about the Kokkuri-San game

Once the game is over, thank Kokkuri-San for coming and ask them to leave. “Kokkuri-San, Kokkuri-San, please return to the gate.”

Should Kokkuri-San refuse to leave, keep asking until the coin goes to “yes” and then the Tori. Do not remove your fingers until you’re certain Kokkuri-San is gone.

Close the door/window and destroy the paper. Spend the coin as soon as possible. There are no limits to how many times you can play, but constantly opening the door to the spirits can make it harder to close it.

Never attempt to play the Kokkuri-San game if you’re feeling vulnerable or as a joke. You don’t have to believe what Kokkuri-San says, but don’t ask a question if you don’t want to know the answer.

Some say that Kokkuri-San became popular due to a manga showing characters playing the game in 1970. After that, children and teenagers would often play the game at school.

Rumors say those who played started to play and become depressed, and many deaths and suicides have are blamed on the Kokkuri-San game. As a result, schools have forbidden the Kokkuri-San game within the school property.

Common questions are, “will I become rich and famous?” “Does so-and-so love me?” And for some reason, people ask about when they’ll die.

Kokkuri-San in Tomodachi Game

I had to watch Tomodachi Game a few times to figure this out. Why does Yuuichi let himself get gaslighted? He knows it’s not his debt, and he wouldn’t risk his friend’s safety.

So, why does he keep quiet? Because he knows the truth. Three out of five people think the debt is his. So, the traitor uses Yuuichi’s situation against him, and none of his friends think this through.

This tells us two things, one, this group hasn’t known each other for very long, and two, despite being friends, they pity Yuuichi. Episode 1 tells us a great deal about the dynamics of the group.

Makoto is an airhead. He’s head over heels for Shiho, and he has access to money. But he doesn’t try to buy his way out of everything, and he cares about his friends.

Shiho likes to take charge and take care of the group. She’s the first to speak out when Yuuichi tries to figure out who has the debt, and she’s in love with Yuuichi.

But most of the group is unaware of this, including Yuuichi. Tenji is at the top of his class and arguably the smartest kid in the group. He calms Shiho down and is looked up to by the others.

Yutori is the shy one, and she’s in love with Yuuichi as well. But we don’t know if Yuuichi romantically likes anyone. He seems content to keep things as they are.

But by the time the Kokkuri-San game ends, everything will change. The rules of this Kokkuri game are different. Instead of asking Kokkuri-San questions, the group must read questions and vote on a yes or no answer.

Manabu chooses who reads a question, and there are five in total. One question per person. They have to answer one question correctly, and they pass the game.

If they get a question wrong, then the game continues. If they get all of the questions wrong, it’s game over. But the debt doesn’t increase if you get an answer wrong.

Everyone stays at the amount they started with, except that Manabu says there’s a penalty for whoever has the highest debt. The friends can’t talk unless they’re reading a question.

I watched the subtitles twice and paused the episode to read those rules. And none of the characters questioned them. Or the fact that if they pass the game, they get 2 million yen, and their debts will go down by 400,000 at a time.

If you speak out of turn, then your debt is doubled. Manabu gives them nametags with their current debt amount displayed on the back, but they can’t show the numbers to anyone, or else the one who showed the tag would have their debt doubled.

Shiho is the first to notice the Kokkrui-San in the room, and we can see it’s different from the standard game. The paper is spread over two desks, and there’s a statue/toy of Kokkrui-San sitting above a red Tori drawn at the top of the paper.

A black line is in the middle, and “yes” and “no” are on either side of the gate. But the “biggest” difference is the giant ten yen coin in the middle of the page.

I would be looking under the desks while Manabu explains the rules. There’s no rule against it, and it would help figure out how the coin moves because it’s very heavy.

It’s so heavy that Yutori is visibly straining to push the coin with one finger. I’d also try to pocket the coin when the game is over. I’m not convinced that I’ll be safe as long as I play, and that coin would make a good weapon.

How to beat the Kokkrui-San game

Here’s the order of questions and their readers.

  1. “Is Mt. Fuji the tallest mountain in Japan?” Makoto
  2. “Does 1 + 1 = 2?” Shiho
  3. “Does Nihon mean Japan in English?” Tenji
  4. “Is a week seven days?” Yuuichi
  5. “Will the five of us be friends forever?” Yutori

These questions are easy, yet the first four were answered incorrectly. We know there’s a traitor, but the order is up to Manabu, and the readers are the ones who made the questions.

Yutori’s question might have been written, but no one thought to ask it before her. Because if the friends wanted to clear the debt quickly, that would have been the best question to ask.

But no one does because the traitor wants to see them squirm. This game isn’t about money, and Yutori is unfortunate because Manabu chose her to be last.

Hopefully, I’ll have an answer by the end of the anime. Manabu’s role is to explain the games, keep the group in line, and make things interesting for the audience.

He doesn’t appear to care who wins. Instead, he wants the games to continue for as long as possible. This means the traitor is in the same position as the rest of the group.

So, why did the first four questions get a “no?” The traitor doesn’t care about ridding themselves of debt. Instead, they want to throw the others further and further into debt.

Because the stress of a large debt will make it harder for them to trust each other and think properly. So, how do we win? The minority has the advantage, and the players can’t speak unless they’re reading a question.

The first thing I would do is figure out who is trying to betray us. After that, I’ll play the game, but I won’t move my finger. In order words, I won’t vote.

There’s no rule saying I have to, and the coin is so heavy that no one will notice I’m not moving. This will determine how many traitors I need to deal with.

Question 2 is the best way to test this because there’s no excuse for anyone to pick “no.” Except for the hidden rule available to the first four readers.

If the coin moves to “no,” the reader’s debt will be cut in half, but it doesn’t say the reader has to vote “no.” We could have one traitor or more in any of the games.

And to make things worse, all of them know each other reasonably well. This means the traitor has a good idea of how far the others can be pushed.

This means it doesn’t matter if I vote or not because the traitor never intended to end the game in the first round. The questions are the problem.

Because of their simplicity, it’s hard to tell if the intention was to help win the game or halve their debt instead. We don’t know if Yutori thought of her question or if she was reading it, but that question would have gotten a yes from everyone.

There are probably many other ways to beat Kokkrui-San, but I enjoyed researching this game. So, how would you win Kokkrui-San?

Have you played it, or do you know anyone that did? I’ll write about game two as soon as it ends in Tomodachi Game, and I read the manga.

Here’s a link to my previous Tomodachi Game article. I hope you look forward to the next one!

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