Monday, January 19, 2009

I Know What I'm Doing Tonight -

Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (百物語怪談会? lit., A Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales) was a popular parlour game during Edo period Japan.

The game was a simple one. In a room, as night fell, one hundred candles were lit. Guests and players gathered around the candles, taking turns telling kaidan. After each kaidan, a single candle was extinguished, and the room slowly grew darker and darker. The process was an evocation, with the final candle believed to summon a supernatural entity.

The origin of the game is unknown. It is thought that it was first played amongst the samurai class as a test of courage, and later became fashionable amongst the townsmen.

A true popular phenomenon, the popularity of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai combined with new printing technology created a boom in the publication of kaidan-themed books collecting appropriate tales from every corner of Japan and China. Books in this genre often used the term Hyakumonogatari in the title, and in fact the published tale’s popularity continued long after the fad for the game had faded.

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