Any Interesting Japanese Word Games?

Hi there!

I appreciate games like Scrabble, Boggle, Scattergories and I thought that Japanese with its many homophones and kanjis could lead to interesting word games.

I already know about shiritori and I have also seen a Scrabble-equivalent game named Mojipittan. Besides these two, do you know any other interesting japanese word games?

Thanks in advance!

P.S. although I use WaniKani for a long time, this is my first message on the forum ^ ^, so よろしくお願ねがいします !


I’m afraid I can’t help with any games, but…

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カタカナーシ is a game where you can’t use katakana words to describe a word or something. I haven’t played it yet, but it seems fun!


Welcome to Wanikani!

Here is my game:


Seems fun! I have to try it one day!

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Nice! This is a good example of the kind of game I’m looking for: I can’t see an equivalent in my first language.


Crosswords? :slightly_smiling_face:

I’ve heard of a game where you say a word, and whoever is next starts the next word with the same ending character as the previous word. If you use a word that ends with ん you lose. That’s the only one I can think of and I’m not sure if there are any other rules to it.

That’s shiritori, which OP mentioned. Other rules are it must be a noun, and you can’t repeat a word someone already said. There’s also optional house rules which cover what happens when it comes to dakuten or glides or the katakana long-vowel mark, but yeah.

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My japanese teacher once brought a kind of card game: one set has all the hiragana on it and you spread it out on the table with the symbold visible. The other set has short poems on it where every word (at least I think it’s every word; might also just be the first word in the sentence) begins with the same syllable and which is read out loud for everyone by one of the players. You have to recognize which that is and slap your hand on the corresponding hiragana-card. The one who got the most cards right first, wins.
I think there’s also a variation with kanji. It’s called something like “100 poems” if i remember correctly.

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That would be うたがるた, based on the so-called “One Hundread Each” or 百人一首ひゃくにんいっしゅ collection: a bunch of poems that have been famous since at least the 12th century. There’s even a serious competitive scene (on a national level!) of this game, as well as a manga, anime, drama and live-action films.


There is a game called ワードウルフ [word wolf].

Which is played like this.

A very necessary rule, at that.


@Saida 先週、あの「ワードウルフ」というゲーム をやっただろう?ルーク先生のクラスで。

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I saw my students playing this game once where they were specifically trying to make nonsense words. It’s like shiritori in that you’re using the last character said by the person before you, except unlike shiritori, it’s a completely spoken game. Additionally, you have to use 3 syllables, the second of which MUST be ん. Also, it’s typically done to a beat, so you have very limited time to respond.


Everyone: clap clap
Person 1: あんぼ
clap clap
2: ぼんぱ
clap clap
3: ぱんち

But since パンチ is a real word, person 3 loses.

That said, because you WANT to make words that are nonsense, it might actually take a higher command of the language.


There goes half my vocab :joy:. This seems pretty advanced when even Japanese have problems doing it.

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