Ji ji bbong

Informant is a Korean international student at USC, majoring in accounting. She is 21 years old, and has lived in Korea until she finished high school. Her primary language is Korean. Her family consists of five members –her mom, her dad, younger brother, younger sister, and herself.

In Korea, there is this children’s game named ‘ ji bbong.’ The rule goes like this: two people unintentionally say the same word at the same time. Who ever says ‘Ji ji bbong’ first gets control over the other’s speech. The looser cannot speak until a third person calls the looser’s name three times. If the looser speaks before his/her name is called, the winner hits the looser according to the number of syllables.

Below is the example (translated into english).

Sophie & Mark: (at the same time) Oh my god!

Sophie: Ji ji bbong!

Mark: (Looks around for people, but there is no one.)

[Few minutes pass.]

Mark: There is no one!

Sophie: there-is-no-one. Four times! (hits Mark four times)

Mark: (finally finds Joe. Mark makes body gestures to Joe.)

Joe: Oh I see what is going on. Mark, Mark, Mark!

Mark: Thank god, now I can speak.

Apparently there are different variations according to where in Korea one is from. The informant lived in Suwon, Korea. However, when she moved to Seoul she found out that kids in Seoul play differently. The winner pinches the looser until the looser identifies seven objects having seven primary colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black). 

This is a very famous children’s game in Korea. This game is played whenever and wherever, because two people coincidentally saying the same thing at the same time is not a common occurrence.  This game is learned mostly at elementary school years, and elementary school students play this game the most. This game isn’t a traditional children’s game, because apparently it’s my generation and on who know about this game.  Considering the novelty of the game, it is amazing how popular and famous it is. I guess it’s because it is easy to learn and play this game, and the notion of ‘unexpectedness’ adds to the fun of this game.