Date of Performance/Collection: April 13, 2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Japanese
According to my friend, Japanese people are very interested in horror. They believe that spirits exist and may sometimes be harmful to people. They are very mischievous and have no intention of leaving once they have latched onto someone they love to fool around with. This story in particular was not too significant because he does not believe in the occult. However, it was a little past midnight when he told me the rules for playing this game, and the lights were off. It was slightly frightening. He learned this from other students who normally play with the occult, whether it’s through Ouija boards, séances, or Kokkuri-san, another version of an Ouija board.
There are many things that you must prepare for this ritual. You need a stuffed doll, and it must have limbs. You need enough rice that you can fill the doll with it. You need a needle and thread that is red in color. You need a nail clipper and a very sharp object such as a knife or whatnot. You need a cup of salt water, and you need to have a bathroom that has a bathtub. You also need a hiding place, such as a room. It must also have a TV in there.
You are supposed to open the doll and take out all the stuffing. There must be nothing left, so scraping the doll’s insides may be necessary. Once all of its stuffing is removed, it must be filled with rice. This is meant to represent innards, and will attract ghosts to possess the doll and allow it to live inside. You must clip off a few nails and then put them inside the doll. You sew the tear you made to open the doll up with the crimson thread. The stitches should be relatively clumsy. When you are done sewing up the thread, you are to tie the doll up with the rest of it. The red thread is actually supposed to represent blood vessels and will manage to hold the spirit inside the doll. You have to go to the bathroom and fill the bathtub with water, and then return to your hiding place with the cup of salt water.
In playing it, you have to give a name to your doll. It can be any name, as long as it is not yours. At 3 AM, you are to tell the doll “your name is the first it” to the doll three times. You are to go the bathroom and put the doll into the water-filled bathtub. You turn off all the lights in your house and go back to the hiding place and switch on the TV. After counting to ten, you return to the bathroom with the sharp tool in hand. You are supposed to go to the bathtub and say to the doll “I have found you, <name that you gave to it>.” You are to stab it with the edged tool, symbolizing that you are setting the spirit inside free. Then you’re suppose to say, “You are the next it, <name that you gave to it>.” As you take the doll out of the bathtub, you leave it on the counter. You run back to your hiding place and hide very well.
You are supposed to pour half of the cup of salt water in your mouth and you are not to drink any of it. This is supposed to keep you safe. If you do not, you might encounter a wandering spirit in the house which may harm you if you are not careful. You cannot see it, so the only way to know if something is getting closer to you is to watch what is happening to the TV in your room. You should have turned it on at this point in time. Get out of your hiding place and look for the doll. It may not be in the bathroom where you left it. No matter what happens you must not spit out the salt water because that is what is keeping you safe. When you find the doll, you’re supposd to pour the rest of the salt water from the cup that you had over it. Then you spit the salt water in your mouth onto it as well. Then you say, “I win” three times and the ritual is done.
After this, you must dry, burn and discard the doll.
Honestly, this game was ultimately very creepy. I do not like dolls to begin with, and knowing that this doll could potentially harm you because it was even worse. I found it hard to understand why people would be so into horror, but I believe it just represents the people group as a whole in terms of their spirituality. It is explainable because they do believe in ghosts and malevolent spirits and whatnot. I would not perform this ritual, but other people might. I suppose it would take a brave person not afraid of ghosts and spirits to actually go through with the ritual. It would also require some belief in the occult as well. Again, it sounds somewhat like a stereotype of the Japanese people.