test of courage


August 8, 2022

Kimodameshi is to test a person's ability to withstand fear by sending him to a scary place. A type of traditional Japanese game played mostly on summer nights and enduring spiritual horrors. It is also called a trial party.


One of the customs of Japan, it is a kind of test of courage (English: test of courage, courtage test) as a game. It is an event to enjoy the events that occur while confirming the courage one has by visiting places that people have a latent fear of, that is, places that can be objects of emotional fear, such as night forests. Many ghostly phenomena in Japanese culture are a summer tradition, but tests of courage associated with fear of spirits are also often held in this season. In modern society, many events are held outdoors, such as training camps, as a group event for school clubs, youth sports groups, and the like.


According to the "Okagami," which is said to have been written in the late Heian period, the Emperor of Time (Emperor Kazan) went to the mansion at 3:00 in the morning in the summer to tell the three sons of Fujiwara no Kaneie that a demon was said to appear. There is a description that only FUJIWARA no Michinaga managed to complete it, and as proof he carved the pillar with a sword and brought it back, suggesting that the idea of ​​a test of courage had existed since that time.

Modern test of courage


Quiet and spooky places such as cemeteries, forests, and ruins are chosen for the test of courage. In modern times, when a test of courage is held at a training camp at a school or sports club, it is common to select places such as cemeteries and forests that are safe but arouse a sense of fear. Tests of courage are usually held only at night when the surroundings are dark. This is because darkness itself inspires fear in humans, or is a potential source of fear. In some cases, there is no trickery, and in other cases, some participants play the role of threatening, setting the course in advance and preparing threatening tools.

How to play

Before starting the test of courage, there are times when a ghost story is associated with the place. Participants form groups of 1 or 2-4 people and go around a set course in order. The threat actors wear white cloth or use dolls to disguise themselves as ghosts, yokai, skeletons, etc., and surprise the participants who come. In addition, there are various other ingenuity, such as playing eerie music and screaming sound effects with audio equipment, and stroking the participants with konnyaku hanging from the end of the pole. In order to confirm that the goal has been properly reached, put some props (tags, cards, sweets, etc.) at the turnaround point, and have participants bring one at a time when they arrive.

Operating Laws

Test of courage is a game that becomes a crime if proper consideration and control are lacking. Article 130 of the Penal Code stipulates that the act of entering another person's ruins for the purpose of testing one's courage is "building trespassing". If you accidentally wander into the ruins, it won't work, but if you don't obey the order to leave by the manager, etc., the ``crime of not leaving'' will be established. If convicted, both are punishable by imprisonment with work for up to three years or a fine of up to 100,000 yen. In the case of an attempt, Article 133 of the Penal Code stipulates that it is an "attempt to enter a building." Graffiti and vandalism are defined as vandalism under Article 261 of the Penal Code. If found guilty, the punishment is imprisonment with work for up to three years or a penalty of up to 300,000 yen. If a participant refuses to go out of fear and is overly coerced, penal code 222.