Playing Kitsune-ken or Fox Fist (1937)

“A variation on the “rock, paper, sissors” hand game, played by Geisha and their customers, this particular version of the game was at its most popular from the late Edo period (1820s) to the end of the Meiji period (1910s).

In Kitsune-ken (Fox Fist), two people play, and the match is refereed by a third person. The roles of fox, village headman, and hunter, are symbolised by the hands forming ears (fox), hands on thighs (headman), and hands holding a gun (hunter). The village headman looses to the fox, which bewitches him; the fox looses to the hunter, who shoots him; and the hunter looses to the village headman, who outranks him. In the centre is a prize or forfeit, in this photograph the prize is a porcelain figurine, but it is usually a sake container and a sake cup, the person who loses a game has to take a drink as a forfeit.

Beauty of form and style are an important part of the game for both men and women. The movements are usually accompanied by short, sharp calls such as, one, two, three or Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and the whole is harmonised with music played on the Shamisen” (source)

Here is a video of Ichisayo and Ichigiku of Pontocho playing the game

Nagoya Maiko performing ozashiki azobi Kin no Shachihoko (via YOMIURI ONLINE(読売新聞))

Mitaka? / Did you see?

Kiitaka? / Did you hear?

Nagoya no Shiro wa / Of Nagoya castle

Gojuu Yagura no Zecchou ni / On the peak of the fivefold turret

Kin no Shachihoko / A golden Shachihoko

Shachihoko / And the other Shachihoko

Amazarashi / Are exposed to rain.

(translation by arumukos)

A ‘kin no shachihoko’ (金の鯱) is a golden orca-like fish which is often found adorning Japanese castles. (photo and text by jsteph)

Tousenkyo or Fan-tossing 1909 by Blue Ruin1 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
A hangyoku (young geisha) playing the traditional Japanese game of tousenkyo (fan-tossing).

An explanatory video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzb6kBfaG_4
A maiko playing tousenkyo: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wm6ZqGX8us