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LeeSangho

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LeeSangho

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Hwagatu

A game competing the number of memorized traditional three-verse Korean poems, written in cards spread out on the floor. The literal meaning of Hwagatu is to compete with flower-like songs (or sijo, traditional three-verse poem)., indicating its aim of competing the number of memorized sijo. As some elders in their seventies remember playing Hwagatu in the past, the game was still clearly played widely following the liberation from the Japanese Occupation in 1945. Every remaining Hwagatu card is

Korean Folk Arts

Mun Nori

A game making a door with two people’s arms while other players pass through having formed a line. This game is also referred to Munjigi Nori (Doorkeeper game), Munttulgi Nori (Door boring game), or Munyeolgi Nori (Door opening game), and is usually played when there are many people. In Jeolla-do Province, it is a part of Ganggangsullae. Given that it is primarily played on a moonlit night, it seems to be an act of enjoyment rather than competition. This game can be played while being divided in

Korean Folk Arts

Gawi Bawi Bo

A game showing one of three pre-determined hand signs simultaneously to decide a winner. The game is named after the shapes of three hand signs. In Korea, a clenched fist is called bawi (a rock), while a fully-stretched, open hand is called bo, or bojagi (a wrapping cloth), and a half-closed hand with only two fingers (typically the thumb and index finger, or index and middle fingers) sticking out is called gawi (scissors). As a game involving two or more people, all players shout in unison, “ga

Korean Folk Arts

Gogomae Nori

A game hanging the feathers of geese, ducks, or chickens by strings, which was typically enjoyed by children on Jeongwol Daeboreum. Birds were the often object of desire among humans as the flew freely in the sky, leading to. numerous attempts having been made to embody the features of birds. The most basic means to accomplish this task was to run with a thread attached with lightweight leaves or bird feathers. However, the thread would immediately fall to the ground once the running has stopped

Korean Folk Arts

Gonu Nori

A game moving one’s game pieces to trap or capture an opponent’s game pieces on a game board drawn in the dirt, a piece of wood, or a stone, to decide a winner. Gonu Nori is a game played nationwide game under various names per region. Also, the board, the number of game pieces, and rules exist in subtle variations from place to place. However, these differences can be categorized into two types. One variation involves a game where one player traps the game pieces of an opponent in order to win

Korean Folk Arts

Gomujul Nori

A children’s game consisting of hopping over an elastic band or winding the band on players’ legs along to songs. Gomujul Nori is played with rubber bands today, but it is believed to have been originally played using straw ropes. “Korean Games” is a book by Stewart Culin and was first published in 1895. The book described a game called jul ttwieo neomgi (jumping over ropes), apart from jump roping, which was similar to Gomujul Nori. The game was developed with ropes made of natural material, su

Korean Folk Arts

Goeulmodum

A game to decide a winner by summing up the names of goeuls with the letters in a randomly opened page of a book and asking questions regarding the goeuls. Goeulmodum was made to teach children the names and locations of goeuls (villages) in an age without transportation or long-range communication methods. It also could develop enough popularity as only the children who had learnt Chinese characters at a seodang (village school) could play the game. A more recent version of the game can be seen

Korean Folk Arts

Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori

A game rolling thick wire rims, rims of bicycle wheels, or rims of round containers with sticks. Gulleongsoe Gulligi Nori was named Gulleongsoe (iron rolling game, or an iron rim to roll), because of the way it is played. While the game was played nationwide, its origin remains unclear. It is believed that people started playing it first with the rims of liquor barrels, or the pots, to store urine named janggun (also called ojumjanggun, somae janggun, ojumchumari). The rims used to play Gulleong

Korean Folk Arts

Geurimja Nori

A game making various shadows casted by placing and moving hands in front of candlelight or lamplight. Geurimja Nori is a nationwide game played by one or multiple players, mostly during winter at night until electricity became widely used. A shadow generally reflects the exact contour of an object. However, depending on the direction of the light, the shadow may increase, or decrease, in size, or even change shape entirely. Since the inception of fire, different shadows generated by the light h

Korean Folk Arts

Gicha Nori

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 Norya

Korean Folk Arts

Gitdae Seugi Nori

A game consisting of removing dirt from a mound without knocking down a wooden stick, fixed in the middle of the mound. Gitdae Seugi Nori uses fine earth as sand or mud is not suitable for game play. Three or four people can play this game together, sometimes in teams. Traditionally, the game was played in a vacant lot or at the corner of a playing field. It was called by various names, including Gitdae Sseureotteurigi (Knocking Down a Stick), Heuk Ttameokgi (Getting the Dirt), and Heuk Ppaeatgi

Korean Folk Arts

Kkaegeumbalssaum

A game involving players colliding with each other to knock down their opponent while standing on one leg by bending the other leg forward or backward and holding it with their hands. Kkaekkeumjil is a dialect for the word, anggamjil, or hopping, while The Kkaegeumbalssaum Battle is also called Dakssaum (chicken fight). It can be referred to as Mureupssaum (knee fighting), as the players knees collide with each other, as well as, Oebalssaum (one-legged fighting), since only one leg is used to st

Korean Folk Arts

Kkotchatgi Nori

A game taking a team member from another team through continuous rounds of rock-paper-scissors along to a song. Depending on the region, it is either called the Kkotchatgi, Saramppaeasaogi Nori (Steal the Player Nori), and Dalmaji Nori (welcoming the moon). Each team has four to five members. A space that is big enough for many people to shout is required for the game, while the larger the area, the better. At first, players create two teams and stand face-to-face. Also, the teammates hold each

Korean Folk Arts

Nat Chigi Nori

A game throwing sickles at trees to hang or stick from a certain distance while cutting a tree and/or grass on a mountainside. Nat Chigi Nori was typically enjoyed by grown children or teenagers. In the past, cutting grass and trees was part of the mundane every life of children in farming or mountain villages. Grass was fed to cows or used to make compost for farming, while trees were used as firewood. As such, cutting grass and trees was an important task in traditional societies. However, thi

Korean Folk Arts

Donchigi

A game throwing coins into a hole from a fixed distance to win the coins in the hole and also hit the coins outside the hole by throwing rocks. Donchigi was usually played on Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) or Daeboreum (the 15th day of a lunar month), which was probably because children rarely had the chance to get money, except on Seollal when they might receive sebaetdon (a gift of cash on New Year’s Day). The playing method differs depending on the region, but there are common set of rules as

Korean Folk Arts

Ttakjichigi

A game taking each other’s ttakji made of paper by hitting and flipping them over on the ground. Ttakjis (flat and square game pieces) were mostly made with many types of paper, including old book covers, notes, calendars, cement bags, or animal feed bags. The shapes were square or rectangular, and the sizes varied upon the individual making it. Ttakjis made of big and thick paper were called wangttakji (a giant ttakji) and considered more valuable in game play. There were a number of unique way

Korean Folk Arts

Ttangjaemeokgi

A game expanding territories within the boundary of a square or a round game board drawn on a flat area of dirt. Ttangjaemeokgi was also called ttangppaetgi, ttangttagi, or ttangttameokgi. The game was played by three or four children on flat ground. Since the game required minimum tools with minimal rules, Ttangjaemeokgi was played nationwide under almost the same rules in every region. First, players draw a large square or circle game board on an area of ground that is both flat and soft, and

Korean Folk Arts

Malttukbakki

A game taking turns to become a horse or a horserider by designating roles or being divided into two teams of horses and riders. Malttukbakgi was often played primarily by boys, however, female high school students occasionally enjoyed this game in the 1990s. It still remained the most popular among young boys and male teenagers. In the past, horses were the best mode of transportation. In particular, children wanted to ride a horse, yet rarely had a chance to do so. This unmet desire materializ

Korean Folk Arts

Mang Chagi Nori

A game kicking stones with one foot within a game board drawn in the dirt to try and be the first to exit the board. Mang Chagi Nori is one of the few that has a relatively ample record of historical account. The game is typically meant for one or two players, while for games involving more than two, everyone is divided into teams. The game board was mainly drawn in the dirt at a vacant lot or corner in a yard and each region offers different variations. The basic framework of the board is simil

Korean Folk Arts

Mugunghwa Kochi Pieotseumnida

A game trying to gradually sneak up upon the player who is “it” during moments when that player’s eyes are closed, tap with the hand, and run away. Given that the game does not appear in old literature, the history of Mugunghwa Kochi Pieotseumnida, similar to Red Light, Green Light, is not presumably long. However, it can be commonly found in the modern times as it does not require preparation except for a space to move, while also being fun and easy to play. This is an independently-played game

Korean Folk Arts

Siltteugi

A game using a string connected to both hands that is passed back and forth between two players as they try to make various shapes with the string. Siltteugi, similar to Cat’s Cradle, is a game replacing the role of needles, using cloth instead of thread, to the fingers. This game has been enjoyed internationally over many years thanks to its universality. Siltteugi is played mostly by girls, while there are many ways to play it. The following is the most common. The game begins by wrapping a st

Korean Folk Arts

Bossaum

A game competing to make a dam in a creek and crush the opponent’s dam by making it burst. Bossaum is also referred to as, Dam Wrecking. The dam is a bank for the irrigation of paddies or the blockage of a stream. In the past, there were no largescale reservoirs, resulting in an inadequate supply of water for rice farming, pushing farmers to depend greatly upon precipitation. When it was raining, people ran to their paddies with a shovel to open or close the irrigation gate and adjust the volume

Korean Folk Arts

Biseokchigi

A game throwing a palm-sized flat stone, or performing a certain motion, to knock down another flat stone standing on the ground. Biseokchigi was a popular game nationwide while finding its popularity among young boys. There are two speculations about its name. One is that the game was named as Biseokchigi because it was started by kicking Songdeokbi (commemorative monuments) that honor the meritorious deeds of corrupt officials. Another is that it was named after another Korean word biseok (a f

Korean Folk Arts

Sabangchigi

A game drawing a game board on a flat surface, throwing stones upon it, before the players go around from the first cell to the last cell and back again. Sabangchigi is also known as Ttangttameokgi, or Mang Jupgi. This is one of the few traditional games still being played by today’s children. There are two common types of game boards for Mang Jupgi. They are called Bihaenggi Mang Jupgi and 8 Bang Mang Jupgi. Bihaenggi Mang Jupgi is a standard game board used in other countries, while 8 Bang Man

Korean Folk Arts

Sokkum Nori

A role-playing game using everyday materials. Sokkum Nori, also called Sokkup Jangnan, is played nationwide using identical rules of play. This is one of the oldest games in human history. There were many records about Pulgaksi Nori, a doll game using dolls made of grass, in the various historic documents of Korea. Sokkum Nori (playing pretend) keeps changing and evolving as children keep finding new and unique materials to play with. For example, modern-day children play teacher or doctor, but

Korean Folk Arts

Seumugogae

A game using questions to find out an answer by using only 20 questions. Seumugogae (literally meaning “20 hills;” also known as Twenty Questions) requires a type of thinking based on deductive reasoning. Although the time of its inception is unknown, what is certain is that it was introduced from other countries. The game precedes in a way that one player thinks of a target answer and others attempt to guess the answer. For example, if the answer is “rabbit, ” people who need to figure out the

Korean Folk Arts

Garakji Chatgi Nori

A game traditionally played indoors that involves girls or grown adult women trying to find a hidden garakji or other small objects. This game is referred to as Garakji Chatgi Nori, but also goes by Garakji Gamchigi Nori. Other types of items can be used for the game, as well, which changes the name of the game. For example, the game is called Binyeo Passing when a binyeo (a hairpin) is used; Jongji Passing for jongji (a small dish); and Kong Sumgigi for a bean. The game is played by approximate

Korean Folk Arts

Ojingeo Nori

A game of offense and defense using a squid-shaped board drawn in the dirt. Ojingeo Nori is named after the shape of its board, which looks like a squid, with characteristic circles, triangles, and squares. The game was mainly played among young boys on a vast and flat ground. The number of players varies from eight to 10 in most cases, and up to 20 if there are more players to participate on a bigger board. The board favors the offense over the defense based on its structure. Although the shape

Korean Folk Arts

Jachigi

A game hitting or bouncing a saekkija (short stick) using a eomija (long stick). Although Jachigi had been once observed across the country, it is extremely difficult to find in the present day. There is no exact historical record telling when or where it had begun, yet Jachigi was defined by its being able to fully deploy all the functions of a wooden stick, which can be easily found anywhere without the need for special instruments. Jachigi requires an eomija and a saekkija. A typical eomija i

Korean Folk Arts

Jjolgijeopsi Nori

A game throwing a flat stone across water in a way that it bounces off of the surface as many times as possible to decide a winner. Jjolgijeopsi Nori (skipping stones) is a stone throwing game where players throw a flat stone by a pond, a creek, a river, or a beach onto the surface of water horizontally in order to make it skip the surface as many times as possible. This game has been played nationwide in the same manner, under the name of Jjolgijeopsi in Jeollanam-do Province, and Dolpalmae Nor

Korean Folk Arts

Guseulchigi

A game using marbles made of glass or ceramics with the goal of getting other players’ marbles by hitting them with marbles, throwing them into holes, hitting targets with them, guessing whether the number of marbles the other player grabbed is odd or even, or guessing the exact number of marbles grabbed. Guseulchigi was a game loved in every region of Korea, typically played by boys during the winter. In order to play Guseulchigi, children used to make marbles with clay and dry them in the shad

Korean Folk Arts
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