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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Performing Arts
Bakuchi
Gambling. A game in which people compete and bet or gamble property or money. It can also mean a gambler or someone who gambles for a living. If written it can also be called bakueki or bakuyō. As well as dice games like sugoroku (backgammon), chobo (also choboichi) know from ancient times, there are also games like mekachi (staring competition). Rulers in every age have made laws prohibiting gambling. In Shin Sarugakuki it says "a great gambler should not lack any of these eight qualities: spirit, property, dexterity, energy, strength, wit, stealth, violence". This is known as the representative wisdom of gamblers. Horse racing (kurabe-umaand sumō were seen as a means of discerning the will of the gods through competition. It was also thought that divine will influenced the outcome of gambling. For example, in section 365 of Ryōjin Hishō it states "My child will have turned twenty now. In gambling dens all over, he makes a living as a wandering gambler. He is my child, so of course I don't hate him. Don't let him get beaten, Prince of Sumiyoshi Nishinomiya." In section 367 it states "From behind the town of Kushinagaru (Skt.) ten Boddhisatvas appear; when gamblers pray to them, they produce the winning numbers one-six-three." These depict the way people prayed for divine protection. In the Kyōgen play "Ten Gambling Kings", a gambler dices with Enma, King of Hell, has a great win and goes to the Pure Land Heaven (jōdo). This plot of humans and spirits interacting through gambling is one style of Japanese fairy story. Also, in Japanese boats there is a part called a mori which is where the guardian spirit of the boat is enshrined. There is a folk custom of putting a dice the mori as the embodiment of the guardian spirit of the boat.

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