What is PACHINKO: Japan’s STRANGEST Obsession!


It’s an element of Japan that’s often overlooked in guidebooks. Which is strange because it’s so dynamic in sounds and visuals… …it’s hard to miss. Pachinko is a familiar addition to the Japanese cityscape. Its boldness can make it seem intimidating and inaccessible. It’s a staple of the Japanese aesthetic Strange, loud, bright, and exciting. The first time I ever encountered Pachinko. I heard it before I saw it. It’s like a sensory experience. It’s bright and really it’s loud. It’s really- I can’t underline how loud it is. In the simplest form, it’s a cousin of pinball with its earliest roots in 18th Century France. In the 1920s, an earlier version of the game became a staple in local candy stores in Japan. Japanese children started calling the Game “Pachi Pachi”. Referencing the machine’s unique sounds. Neon colors reminiscent of JPOP music videos. On steroids. There’s rows upon rows of Pachinko machines and in a country that’s pressed for space… It’s unbelievable, how giant Pachinko parlors are. To understand Pachinko a little better, let’s see how the machines are made. First, holes are made in the pachinko board into which metal pins are inserted. The metal pins are checked by hand for spacing accuracy. Win pockets and spinners are attached. Yes, there are multiple win pockets. Now we have all the front pieces in place. Time to install the circuit board. Add the lever, ball collecting tray, and window frame. Connect the electronics and test out the machine. There you go Arigatou Gozaimashita!
(Thank you very much!) At first glance, it seems like it’s just pachinko machine after pachinko machine, but they’re actually customized and themed like this one with a gun. *bang* It seems like there’s a… …secret society around pachinko. It doesn’t seem like anyone doesn’t know what they’re doing. So, to just walk in and kinda sit down, it’s intimidating. The reason everyone seems so comfortable, is cause in the end. It is actually quite a simple game. The game is played by turning the lever to release metal balls. This initiates an orchestra of sounds. Turning it too hard sends the ball flying past your target. Turning it to little prevents the ball from reaching your target at all. The ball has to land in a winning pocket in order to start gaining favorable numbers. And the trick is to find that sweet spot. It’s easy to grasp after a while, basically you want the ball to get… …into this hole. One hole. Once you get it into that hole, some other holes open up that are… I mean each machine is a little different, but there’s one hole that’s important. This is a game of probability and statistics. Some chance, some skill. The machines display their recent data allowing players to decide which machine is worthy of their time. If you look at a pachinko parlor, you’re going to see a ton of numbers above the machines These include statistics, like how many times it was played. How many times it was won. How well the machine did. And that’s why, when… …in the morning you look at a pachinko parlor, often times you’ll see a line in front of it. Because people are queuing to pick their favorite or best machine. People approach pachinko differently, some people want machines that have won a lot. Some people want machines that have won a little the day before thinking the probability will be higher for them to win that day which adds an element of gambling to the game. The games are built this way, with all this noise and lights to immediately grab you and immerse you in the environment. It’s like you’re cut off from the world in that moment It’s just all of a sudden happening. It’s- you’re just there. It’s not like, no warming up, all of a sudden- just goes. This one has a sword. It’s iconic. It’s an element of Japanese Pop culture. The sounds. The lights.
The pins. The metal balls. It’s some chance, some skill. It’s ubiquitous to a point that’s unimaginable. Unless you come to Japan and see it for yourself. I hope this video. Shed some light on what pachinko is and how it came to be so popular in Japan. Make sure to subscribe. Press the notification bell and leave a like. See you in the next video.