1. What does Shiritori mean?


Shiritori is made up of the words shiri (butt) and tori (to take). This game involves taking the ends of words and creating new words that start with the end word. 



2. How to play:


2.1. Setup:


To play this game you need at least 2 players. The starting word can be anything that doesn’t end in ん. Some people will choose to use しりとり (Shiritori) as the starting word.


2.2. Gameplay:


Players take turns saying a word that starts with the end (hiragana character) of the previous word. Players continue until someone runs out of words or says a word that ends with ん. 


Here’s an example of what the game can look like with players A and B:


A: しりとり (shiritori) – starting word


B: りす (risu)


A: すいか (suika)


B: かめ (kame)


A: めろん (meron) – Player A loses because they said a word with ん


2.3. Rules:


If you say a word that ends with ん, you lose. This is because there are no words that start with ん in Japanese. 

Words cannot be used twice

Combining words is not allowed: For example: 茶色ちゃいろいくま (chairoi kuma) is not allowed.

Shiritori can also have many other detailed “local” rules. For example, you can decide if you want to allow people’s names, place names, movie names, book names etc…


If a word ends in a small hiragana like ゃゅょ, you have to decide what rule to use. You can either take the small hiragana or the combination as the start of the new word. For example,  with きんぎょ (kingyo),  the next word can be よる(yoru) or ぎょうしゃ (gyousha).


2.4. How to win: 


If the other player runs out of words or says a word with ん, the remaining player wins.


3. How Shiritori can improve your Japanese!


Shiritori is extremely beneficial for improving your Japanese. This is because you’re forced to remember and say the Japanese vocabulary that you know. When you lose Shiritori, you should look up which words start with the Hiragana that you were stuck on. This will help you learn new words. Also, if you’re playing with someone else and you hear a word you’ve never heard of, make sure to ask what it means!


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