Shiritori (しりとり) is a Japanese word game in which the players are required to say a word which begins with the final kana of the previous word. No distinction is made between hiragana, katakana or kanji. "Shiritori" literally means "taking the end" or "taking the rear".
- Two or more people take turns to play.
- Only nouns are permitted.
- A player who plays a word ending in the mora N (ん) loses the game, as no Japanese word begins with that character.
- Words may not be repeated.
- Phrases connected by no (の) are permitted, but only in those cases where the phrase is sufficiently fossilized to be considered a "word".
The player who used the word udon lost this game.
There are various optional and advanced rules, which must be agreed on before the game begins.
- Dakuten and handakuten may be ignored or added. Thus suupu (スープ) may be followed by furo (ふろ), and sato (さと) may be followed by dochi (どち).
- A long vowel may either be ignored or considered as a vowel. Mikisaa (ミキサー/みきさあ) can be followed by either sakura (さくら) or aki (あき).
- Common pronouns and place names may be permitted. Example: Edo jou (えどじょう) lit. Edo castle is acceptable.
- Two words spelled with the same kana but different kanji may be permitted. For example, Su (す) can either be spelled as "巣" (lit. a birdnest) or "酢" (lit. vinegar).
- Words are limited to a certain genre.
- Instead of using only the last kana, the final two kana must be used again. In this case, only the first kana may not be the mora N (ん).
- The length of a word must be three or more syllables.
A Shiritori game using only English words was invented to help people learn English. Most rules are the same, yet there are several original and optional rules that are used.
- For students of English, any words including nouns, verbs, and adjectives can be used.
- Players cannot use different tenses of previously used verbs unless they have nonstandard conjugation. For example, a player may use "be," "was," and "is," but not both "kick" and "kicked."
- When a word ends in a silent vowel, like "life," one may either use the vowel in another word or use the preceding consonant instead.
In English, the most similar game is Word chain.
There are Russian wordgames similar to shiritori known as "Igra v slova" ("Игра в слова" -- A game of words), where players are required to say a noun that begins with the final letter of the previous word, and "Igra v goroda" ("Игра в города" -- A game of cities), where players are required to say a name of a city or town that begins with the final letter of the previous word.
In Romanian there is a game called "Fazan" ("Pheasant"), in which players must say a word that starts with the last two letters of the previous word.
Examples from popular culture
- In the Japanese Version of Tomodachi Life, there is a event called Shiritori Tournament but obviously changed into Word Chain in the European version, and ggeut-mar-it-gi in the Korean version, the North American version lacks the game but there is a similar event called Rap Battle.
- Backhaus, Peter (16 January 2017). "Shiritori: a simple game that's great for practicing your Japanese vocab". The Japan Times. Japan: Yukiko Ogasawara. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
しりとり (shiritori) is the name of the game, derived from the phrase 尻を取る (shiri o toru). It literally means “take the rear” — and that is basically what you do.
- Koichi (4 October 2008). "Shiritori, the Japanese Game That Will Improve Your Japanese". tofugu.com. Tofugu. Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.