@The History of Sugoroku

Origin of Sugoroku in Japan

"Nihon-shoki', the first recorded history in Japan, describes about the prohibition regulation of Sugoroku in 689, Empress Jito's era. Although it is not definable whether this was to royal court or to the public, it is obvious that this regulation has been made to prohibit the Sugoroku gamble.

The oldest existing Sugoroku is "Mokuga-shitan-no-sugoroku" imported from Korea, which now belongs to the collection of Shosoin-kitagura.

There is a description of Sugoroku in Ritsu of Yoro-Ritsuryo enforced in 757. It prohibited Sugoroku and similar games during a mourning period, and it also prohibited monks and nuns playing gambling games.

However, Sugoroku has been played widely by public, and described in stories and documents despite of repeated prohibition regulations.
A story is written in Haseo-Zoshi in late Kamakura era that Doctor of Literature Ki-no-Haseo, d.912, who was the counselor of Emperor Daigo, has made Sugoroku match with a devil on Suzaku-mon, won a beautiful woman from the devil.

Further, Sugoroku game has been mentioned in many stories like Kagero-Nikki, Eiga Monogatari, Okagami, Konjaku-Monogatari, Heiji Monogatari, Ishiyamadera Engi Emaki and etc.. Kenko Hohshi cited his own philosophy in his essay Tsureduregusa while quoting the words of Sugoroku expert as below;

A Sugoroku expert answered to the question while saying, "Not to play game to win. Play it not to lose. Make effort to lose as late as possible, one block by one later, while considering which throw prevent lose earlier." This is the way how to maintain the country like how to maintain yourself.

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