The Question You Must Never Ask Kokkuri-san

Kokkuri-san is a type of spiritualism that involves calling the spirit of a fox. This fox spirit will then answer various questions for you. There are similar games, such as Cupid-san or Angel-sama, but in the case of Kokkuri-san, you use a sheet a paper with the Japanese alphabet written on it, alongside the words “yes,” “no,” numbers from 0 to 9 and a shrine gate. On top of this you place a 10 yen coin.

Everyone participating places their finger on top of the coin, summons Kokkuri-san, and then asks questions. The coin will move seemingly by itself to answer. You must not remove your finger from the coin once Kokkuri-san has been summoned, and when you are done, you must make sure to ask the spirit to leave.

This game was especially popular during the 1970s, and numerous incidents arose from students playing the game, to the point where many schools banned it entirely. This is one of those stories.

Two junior high students, A-san and B-san, were playing Kokkuri-san in their classroom.

“Kokkuri-san, Kokkuri-san, please come.”

Another student in the room watched them.

“Who does OO-kun like?” “When will I get a boyfriend?” They asked common questions girls of their age were interested in, and of course, the other girls in the room got caught up in the excitement as well.

“Who are you?” A-san asked, and immediately the atmosphere in the room changed. The coin A-san and B-san had their fingers on moved haphazardly around the paper, not stopping on any letters. They grew scared. The other girls watched on in amazement.

“Send it back!” someone screamed.

“Please leave now,” A-san said, and the coin suddenly stopped. It was stopped on “no.”

“Please. You can go now.” They asked over and over, but the coin never moved from “no.” Scared, B-san took her finger off the coin and started crying.

“You can’t take your finger off the coin!” “You’ve done it now”! The other girls chastised her, and when A-san asked what to do, the coin moved to the letters “ka” and “wa.”

There was a river (kawa) near the school. Gripping the coin, A-san ran for the river, the other girls hot on her tail. But she didn’t know what to do once she got there. She looked around, but it looked the same as always.

“Should I throw it into the water?” she wondered. Everyone discussed what to do, when A-san suddenly felt something yank her right arm and pull her down. This invisible force tried to drag her, but the other girls grabbed her and tried to pull her back. She inched closer to the river, the victim of a terrifying tug of war.

“It burns! It burns! My right arm burns!” she screamed.

“Drop the coin! Hurry up!” the other girls screamed back.

“I can’t open my… It burns…” A-san cried, letting out a small whimper.

One girl tried to force A-san’s hand open, but it was no use.

“Help me!”

Together the girls managed to force A-san’s hand open and then throw the coin into the water. The force dragging A-san down suddenly disappeared. The girls told her that there was nothing odd about the coin, it looked like any old 10 yen coin, but on the palm of A-san’s hand, the mark of a 10 yen coin had been burned into it.

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