Fruit Basket Turnover

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Fruit Basket Turnover or Fruit Basket Upset, also known as Fruit Salad, Fruit Bowl, Fruits Basket [sic] and others is a children's game.

Fruit Basket usually refers to a variation in which each fruit is ostensibly associated with only one player, and the player in the centre must call two fruit names.


The game is played as follows:

  • The players are divided into equal-sized groups, with each group having the name of a fruit.
  • A circle is formed with a number of chairs equal to one less than the number of players. The players sit on the chairs, ensuring that members of each group are evenly distributed around the circle.
  • One player will be left without a chair, and will stand in the centre of the circle.
  • The player standing in the centre calls out one of the fruit names. When this happens, all players in that group must stand up from their seats and move to another seat in the circle. The player in the centre must attempt to take one of the free seats while the other players are moving.
  • A new player will then be left in the centre, enabling the game to be repeated. If any player failed to move even though their group's fruit name was called, they are required to move into the centre and the player previously in the centre sits in their seat.
  • Instead of stating a fruit name, the player in the centre may call "Fruit Basket Turnover!", "Fruit Basket Upset!" or "Fruits Basket!", in which case everybody must move to a different seat.
  • There is often a restriction that the player must move to a seat not adjacent to their own

In some variants of the game, a player can be eliminated from the game, usually if they either fail to move when their fruit name is called, or are due to appear in the centre for two rounds in a row. Whenever a player is eliminated, a chair is also removed from the circle. The game resembles a combination of the games Musical Chairs and Duck Duck Goose.

In an outdoor version of the game, the players stand along the side of a large open area, and must run from one side to the other without being tagged when their fruit, or 'turnover', is called. Any player who is caught by the player in the middle must join the player in the middle to help catch players on future moves. Eventually, all players are caught.

Party game variant[edit]

A variation of the game, played by older children and young adults, does not make use of fruit names. Instead, the player in the centre calls out the description of a group of people (for example, "women", "people who have been to Kansas", etc.) and all people in that group are required to move. The only limit on this is that the person in the centre must be a member of the specified group (e.g., only a woman may call on "women" to move).

Another variant, sometimes called "I Never", reverses this limit, requiring the centre to describe a group by something that the centre has never done, calling "I've never...".

References to the game[edit]

The most well-known reference in Western youth culture to Fruits Basket is the anime and manga series of the same name, where it is used as a metaphor for ability to integrate with a social group. In that series, the protagonist Tohru Honda describes that whenever she played the game in school, she was assigned the name "onigiri" (rice ball). Although she was fine with this, she later realized that the other children playing never called this name because an onigiri is not a fruit and didn't belong in a fruits basket, thus leaving her sitting as they continued to play. However, at the end of episode 5, when she is accepted into the Sohma family, we see one child call "onigiri!" and, smiling, Tohru joins in the game. The series title itself originates from the fact that Tohru previously thought that she could never actually fit in with the Sohma family, just as a rice ball could never belong in a fruits basket, but, being accepted into the family proves otherwise, and she learns that she has a home with them.

The anime Mitsudomoe makes reference to the game in episode 1 of season 1 but is portrayed in a violent yet humorous way.

See also[edit]