Tosenkyo (投扇興)

Tosenkyo is a Japanese game (throwing fans at a target) that is one of the Japanese traditional multiplayer games. Each player throws a fan at a target called 'Cho' (butterfly) which is set up on a pedestal of paulownia. Then, the players are credited with a certain number of points calculated on the basis of the shape which is formed by the combination of fan, Cho (target), and Makura (pedestal).

History and origin
Some people say that it started when someone threw a fan at a butterfly which was resting on a wooden pillow, and found it amusing to see the butterfly and fan floating in the air and landing on the wooden pillow.

Tosenkyo was developed as a party trick in the Edo period, continued into the Meiji period, and then died out once. After the war, it was restored because of its miyabi (elegance) aspect.

Then, after the Heisei era, it started to be covered by media like TV.

There are various schools of Tosenkyo such as kisen-ryu, misen-ryu, miyakoon-ryu, and towa-ryu schools.

Kisen-ryu school
This school is often covered by the media. The current iemoto (the head family of the school) is Danjuro ICHIKAWA (the 12th).

Around 1975, it was restored as an ogizuka event (a ceremony of thanksgiving for used fans) by the Asakusa Tourism Federation because it was associated with Asakusa. Now its activities center around the Tokyo Metropolis Asakusa Tosenkyo Preservation Promotion Association.

Mei was taken from "Genji Monogatari" (The Tale of Genji).

Misen-ryu school
Now its activities center around the Japan Tosenkyo Preservation Promotion Association. It was set up in 1974.

There is a record that Imperial Prince Akishinonomiya Fumihito enjoyed playing the Misen-ryu Tosenkyo in his childhood.

Mei was taken from Hyakunin-Isshu.

Miyakoon-ryu school

Towa-ryu school

Pace and rules of the game
The pace of the game varies widely depending on school. The game differs in many ways except that each player uses a fan to aim at 'Cho' (butterfly) which is set up on a pillow on a scarlet felt mat.

However, they have a common rule that each player must not rise from their zabuton (traditional Japanese cushions used to sit on the floor).
Mei (inscription)

The shape which is formed by the combination of fan, Cho (target), and Makura (pedestal) is called 'Mei.'
Most of the Meis were taken from 54 people of "Genji Monogatari" (The Tale of Genji) including Uji jujo (The Ten Quires of Uji) but some of Meis were taken from a certain place name or Hyakunin-Isshu. Even for the same Mei, each school has different definitions and scores and also different judgment by gyoji (umpire).

Therefore, you should think that different schools could have different rules and aims.

Basically, the game is designed so that a player gets a low score when he or she knocks down the pillow (may get minus point depending on school), and gets a high score when he or she is able to form a shape which looks fine and difficult.

[Original Japanese]