Getting to know yourself through Kokology

You’re having a party. The guests are all there and everybody is just hanging out, but not much is going on. You’ve gone through all the drinking games, and sure those were fun, but now what do you do? Well, leave it to Japan, the nation that brought us Karaoke and the virtual pet, to come up with the latest in party game: Kokology!

Kokology: The Game of Self-Discovery (Fireside) was written by Japanese psychologist Isamu Saito and the head of the Kokology Project Team Tadahito Nagao. The book is a type of personality test. It’s akin to the ones we all took back in high school in which a series of questions boiled personalities into a short paragraph that explained the results of a numerical score. Kokology tries to get to your inner being by asking, as the back of the book puts it, a series of innocent questions. Answers to these questions, put through the Kokology system, will reveal your attitudes to all sorts of things. Things like love, self-esteem and the always-fun views on sex.

The ranges of questions in Kokology are pretty wide. Some questions ask you to pick a response out of a set. For example, one question about a bird that changes colors asks you to pick which color the bird changes into next. The answer will then reveal your basic attitude of life – i.e., optimist or pessimist. Another gives you a set of four answers to describe your response if you were at a volcano eruption. The answer you choose reveals how you react when someone is angry with you.

Other questions are more open-ended and calculate a characteristic based on the answer. One involves a patch of unguarded strawberries. The test asks you to visualize the situation, such as how high the fence around the berries would be, how many you would eat and how you would feel after you ate them. This determines your attitude toward sex. Another asks the reader to imagine a phone call late at night. Who would be calling? What would they say? This determines whom it is you would depend on in stressful times.

There are over 50 questions in Kokology to determine all sorts of characteristics and quirks about the players. These things are as accurate and correct as you let them be. Sometimes you’ll be surprised at how accurate they get or realize that hey, it may just be right when it comes to how you react to when someone is mad at you. It’s all just a game though, and in the end, Kokology is just another pleasant distraction to flip through at a bookstore or as a way to fill some time and to start some conversations at a party.

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