Hana Ichi Monme

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はないちもんめ 2007 (9017279101).jpg

Hana Ichi Monme (花一匁) is a traditional Japanese children's game.[1] The game is similar to the game Red Rover in the Western world. This game is often played in kindergartens and elementary schools. The children split into two groups, and the members of each group hold hands, so that the teams face each other in two lines. One group steps toward the other in the rhythm of a song that is used only for the game, and the other steps back so that the team lines remain parallel. In each phrase of the song, the team that is stepping back changes, and the team creates a move that associates a swing. The name "Hana Ichi Monme" means "a flower is one monme." A monme is a historical (Edo period) Japanese coin with a value of 3.75 grams of silver.

Each time the song ends, the team leaders step forward and do janken, a Japanese version of rock-paper-scissors. The winner goes back to his team, and they discuss who the team wants to add from the other team. After they have decided, they sing another song doing the same movement and announce the person they want. The game ends when one team loses all of its members.

Version 2: After the children line up, the team leader steps forward to janken. The winning team sings the first part (1) while they advance in line. The opposing team retreats in parallel. As the words monME is sung, the children kick into the air as if to kick the dirt into the opponent's face. Then it's time for the second team to sing their part of the lyrics below (2) as they advance in line. The two teams alternate the verses.

(1) Katte ureshii hana ichi monme
(2) Makete kuyashii hana ichi monme
(1) Ano ko ga hoshii
(2) Ano ko ja wakaran
(1) Sōdan shiyō
(2)Sō shiyō

We're so happy we won, hana ichi monme
We're so upset we lost, hana ichi monme
We want that kid
We don't kid which kid you mean
Let's talk about it
Yes, let's

The children then huddle to choose a person from the opposing team and return in line to call out...

(1)<name of child chosen eg.> Yoshi-chan ga hoshii
(2)<name of child chosen eg.> Keiko-chan ga hoshii

We want <e.g. Yoshi-chan>
We want <e.g. Keiko-chan>

The two children then step forward to janken. The loser joins the winning team's line. Game ends the same way.

Other traditional Japanese children's games include Kagome Kagome and Dahrumasan ga Koronda. Many games have songs that go with them.


  1. ^ Lois Peak (1 January 1991). Learning to Go to School in Japan: The Transition from Home to Preschool Life. University of California Press. pp. 82–. ISBN 978-0-520-08387-5.