Pachinko: declining popularity or a continuing Japanese social problem?

Graham Brooks, Tom Ellis, Chris Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pachinko refers to the peculiarly Japanese amusement arcade game that was supposedly modelled on the ‘Corinthian’, a US pinball machine, imported to Japan in the 1920s . Pachinko machines closely resemble pinball machines , though they are somewhat smaller and have a vertical, as opposed to horizontal, playing surface. Pachinko machines are played almost exclusively in specialist pachinko parlours , where the compactness of the machines is an important factor, as we shall see. In 2005, there were an estimated 17.1 million pachinko players , providing revenue of just over 28.7 trillion yen ( US$250 billion) . It is difficult to think of another developed society in which gambling is as universally accessible and widely practiced on a daily basis by such a significant portion of the adult population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJapan Focus
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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