On April 16, 2019, in the Russian New University (RosNOU) held a master class "Traditional Japanese Games", organized by the Center for Asia-Pacific Region of RosNOU. The event was held by Ksenia Masterkova, a Project Development Maтager of International Affairs & Academic Mobility Directorate, and Sae Shibata, a student of the RSUH from Japan.
The first game, which was attended by students of RosNOU, is called "Fukuwarai" (or "Lucky Laugh" translated from Japanese). This game of the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun, popular in the New Year, is connected with the saying: “Luck comes to a house with lots of laughter.” And it is no coincidence since the game is accompanied by the loud laughter of master class participants.
The rules of the game are as follows: on the table is placed the image of the oval of the person’s or the animal’s face, and the blindfolded player must correctly position the eyes, nose, and mouth of this character. The actions of the player are controlled by the audience, prompting where to put one or other part.
No less fascinating Japanese game, presented at the master class, was the tonton-sumo (or “tuk-tuk paper sumo”). For this game, a playing field from a cardboard box and paper figures of sumo players are used. The player places his or her sumo fighter in the center of the field, which has boundaries in the shape of a circle, and knocks his or her fingers on the box until the opponent’s figure falls or “get out” of the circle.
Firstly students played one on one, but then the participants of the master class were united in teams and began to have fun all together.
Another game was the Japanese card game Menko, the progenitor of pogs or milk caps popular in Russia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Each player was given three cards folded from origami, one of them needed to be placed on the playing field. The participants of the game took turns throwing their menko, trying to turn the opponent's card over or off the field. In success, the player took both cards, and the opponent put another menko instead of the one that the winner took.
The organizers of the master class pleased the students of RosNOU with another Japanese game, which required a special toy called kendama. A toy resembling a hammer consists of three different-sized bowls (two are located on the sides, and the third is on the end of the handle), a pike, and a wooden ball tied to them. The task of kendama player is to catch a ball with different bowls or a pike. Master class participants appreciated the complexity of this traditional Japanese entertainment.
“The events of the Center for Asia-Pacific Region of RosNOU are intended to popularize the diversity of cultures and languages of one of the most advanced and rapidly developing regions,” – said George Gabrielian, Head of the Academic Affairs & Academic Mobility Directorate of RosNOU. – “Practical seminars and lectures on Japanese culture broaden the horizons of our audience, lay the foundations for establishing new connections and formats of interaction with Japan from the point of view of both education – learning Japanese, continuing education in the country – and prospects for working in Russian-Japanese projects. Center for Asia-Pacific Region of RosNOU maintains contacts with leading universities, language centers, business organizations and employers' associations in Japan.”