Gicha Nori

Gicha Nori

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game using a rope to create a train and going around pretending to actually be riding a real train.

Gicha Nori from children’s attempts to mimic wondrous objects, similar to that of Gamatagi, riding in a sedan chair, and Maltagi, riding on a horse. Following the introduction of the train at the end of the Joseon Period, the game naturally came to be and was popular among children. The first train in Korea was launched as the construction of Gyeongin Railroad Line was initiated to connect Noryangjin of Seoul and Jemulpo of Incheon in September 1899. The next year, the Hangangcheolgyo Railroad Bridge was built to finish the construction of Gyeongin Line, while the subsequent construction of the Gyeongbu (Seoul-Busan) Line and Gyeongui (Seoul-Sinuiju) Line, in 1905 and 1906 respectively, was soon completed. Finally, Gyeongwonsan Line and Honam (Seoul-Mokpo) Line were opened in 1914, completing a railroad network linking all corners of the country. This led to the train being at the center of the public eye from the end of the Joseon Period to the mid-period of the Japanese Occupation. As children had already enjoyed a similar game, Kkorittagi (Catch the Tail), Gicha Nori eventually settled as a game involving the mimicking of a train. The time of its inception was therefore assumed to be the around the Japanese Occupation, not long ago.

To play this game, a long oval is created by connecting straw ropes, clotheslines, or jumping ropes, without anyone being designated as “it.” The winner of rock-paper-scissors acts as the first driver, before other children eventually take successive turns acting as the driver. The game involves the driver, first, placing the rope near the naval and holding up using both hands, while other children simply hold onto the rope. Afterward, the child at the end tightens the rope, throwing it over their back. If children stand too close together, it becomes difficult to walk, so they are required to space themselves out. Once all children are ready, they move forward while holding the rope using both hands in a way that the rope is stretched tightly, while making train sounds of train going, “Chooga-chooga, choo-choo!” The whole neighborhood acts as the stage for the game, while the corners of alleys are designated as stops, calling them one of the major cities, such as Seoul, Daejeon, Daegu, Busan, or Gwangju. After they reach a certain stop, the driver would say, “This is Seoul Station. Please disembark safely.” One or two players then proceed to get off the train, as if actual passengers disembarking from a train. When they arrive at the starting point after going through all stops, they choose the next driver and play again.

Given that this simple game has been passed down among children up until the present day, this game is quite entertaining. The game provides a sense of fun that involves children moving around together, using tied up rope as a medium. This kind of interest in such a simple game isn’t common, yet since children find even the smallest of changes interesting, Gicha Nori can serves as a satisfying game alternative.

Gicha Nori

Gicha Nori
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game using a rope to create a train and going around pretending to actually be riding a real train.

Gicha Nori from children’s attempts to mimic wondrous objects, similar to that of Gamatagi, riding in a sedan chair, and Maltagi, riding on a horse. Following the introduction of the train at the end of the Joseon Period, the game naturally came to be and was popular among children. The first train in Korea was launched as the construction of Gyeongin Railroad Line was initiated to connect Noryangjin of Seoul and Jemulpo of Incheon in September 1899. The next year, the Hangangcheolgyo Railroad Bridge was built to finish the construction of Gyeongin Line, while the subsequent construction of the Gyeongbu (Seoul-Busan) Line and Gyeongui (Seoul-Sinuiju) Line, in 1905 and 1906 respectively, was soon completed. Finally, Gyeongwonsan Line and Honam (Seoul-Mokpo) Line were opened in 1914, completing a railroad network linking all corners of the country. This led to the train being at the center of the public eye from the end of the Joseon Period to the mid-period of the Japanese Occupation. As children had already enjoyed a similar game, Kkorittagi (Catch the Tail), Gicha Nori eventually settled as a game involving the mimicking of a train. The time of its inception was therefore assumed to be the around the Japanese Occupation, not long ago.

To play this game, a long oval is created by connecting straw ropes, clotheslines, or jumping ropes, without anyone being designated as “it.” The winner of rock-paper-scissors acts as the first driver, before other children eventually take successive turns acting as the driver. The game involves the driver, first, placing the rope near the naval and holding up using both hands, while other children simply hold onto the rope. Afterward, the child at the end tightens the rope, throwing it over their back. If children stand too close together, it becomes difficult to walk, so they are required to space themselves out. Once all children are ready, they move forward while holding the rope using both hands in a way that the rope is stretched tightly, while making train sounds of train going, “Chooga-chooga, choo-choo!” The whole neighborhood acts as the stage for the game, while the corners of alleys are designated as stops, calling them one of the major cities, such as Seoul, Daejeon, Daegu, Busan, or Gwangju. After they reach a certain stop, the driver would say, “This is Seoul Station. Please disembark safely.” One or two players then proceed to get off the train, as if actual passengers disembarking from a train. When they arrive at the starting point after going through all stops, they choose the next driver and play again.

Given that this simple game has been passed down among children up until the present day, this game is quite entertaining. The game provides a sense of fun that involves children moving around together, using tied up rope as a medium. This kind of interest in such a simple game isn’t common, yet since children find even the smallest of changes interesting, Gicha Nori can serves as a satisfying game alternative.