Tsuji-ura (The Crossroads Game)

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It's just a game.


Ancient, and popular.

Nothing more than a bit of fun.

In Europe, it is known as crossroads divination.

But in its native Japan, it is crossroads fortune-telling.

Or in other words:



Long ago, the game's fame led to the creation of tsuji-ura senbai - small crackers with fortunes inside of them, written on paper.

Years later, in post-war America, Chinese restaurants would adopt these Japanese creations, and re-name them "fortune cookies".


The game has a dark side, though.

In the past, it was said that some Japanese people committed suicide after recieving their fortunes, as they did not like what they were told their futures held in store.


Anyone can play the game, either alone or with friends.

All participants must bring with them a comb, and something with which to cover their face.


In order to play, players must go to a crossroads in the evening, after dark.

They must then sound their comb three times by running their finger across the comb's teeth.

After this, the following phrase is to be chanted three times:


"Tsuji-ura, tsuji-ura, grant me a true response!"


They must then wait.

Players are to wait until a stranger walks by (it has to be a stranger, it cannot be somebody known), and then hold up their chosen object with which to cover their face.

And as the stranger walks by, players are to ask them for their fortune, making sure to not uncover their face.

If the stranger does not reply, or refuses to answer, players must wait for another stranger to pass them by, and then ask again.


In Europe, it was said that the dead walked the roads at night.

It was also believed that the devil haunted the crossroads, disguised in human form.


So if one of those strangers were to suddenly stop, and if you were to hear their footsteps come closer to you, and if you were to see their breath fog the icy evening air, and if you were to hear their whispered predictions of your future - of happiness and pain, of success and failure, of love and death - just who exactly is talking to you?

A wandering spirit?

Or a fallen angel?


It's just a game. That's all it is.


It's just a game...

Created: Apr 04, 2014

Tags: ritual, history, game, crossroads divination, spooky story, untitled japanese folk tale, collab, tsuji-ura, spooky

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