Kokology: More of the Game of Self-Discovery

Kokology: More of the Game of Self-Discovery

by Tadahiko Nagao, Isamu Saito

View All Available Formats & Editions

Kokology 2 offers all-new insights into the surprising real you.
Kokology, the popular Japanese pop-psych quiz game, is now an American bestseller, and Kokology 2 offers more than 50 all-new quizzes, perfect for beginners and experienced kokologists alike. Kokology, the study of kokoro ("mind" or "spirit" in Japanese), asks you to answer


Kokology 2 offers all-new insights into the surprising real you.
Kokology, the popular Japanese pop-psych quiz game, is now an American bestseller, and Kokology 2 offers more than 50 all-new quizzes, perfect for beginners and experienced kokologists alike. Kokology, the study of kokoro ("mind" or "spirit" in Japanese), asks you to answer questions about seemingly innocent topics — such as which is the cleanest room in an imaginary house? — and then reveals what your answers say about you. Play it alone as a quest of self-discovery, or play with friends, if you dare!

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Who knew mind games could be good for you? Bring Kokology 2 and a great bottle of wine to your next dinner party, and you're sure to be a hit. East meets West in this series of mind- and heart-teasers that asks you to put yourself in various imaginary situations and answer what you would do. (If you could be a boat peacefully floating on the water, what kind of boat would you be?) The answer keys after each "pop quiz" reveal what your answers really mean -- about you.

Kokology, based on Western psychological principles, is the study of kokoro, which means "mind" or "spirit" in Japanese. Authors Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito bring you to the heart of kokology through the series of "what if" quizzes that are designed to help unearth those hidden motivations that come into play in your relationships with friends, coworkers, family members, and significant others. You'll see much more clearly why you and others do the things you do.

I rounded up my own circle of unknowing suspects, (all in the name of research, mind you), and asked them to try a few tests. Here's what I found out: Everyone wanted to take this book out of my hands -- from cynical coworkers, single girlfriends, and ex-boyfriends (no wonder they're history!) to the cute couple that lives downstairs.

Leave it on your coffee table, take it to your favorite coffee shop, read it in bed, or pass it around at the next family gathering, and gain new insights on just what makes you and those around you tick! (Jennifer Forman)

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Playing the Game

When we set out to develop Kokology, our first and foremost goal was to make it fun. After all, who in their right mind would want to play a game that isn't? The basic concept was already there — our plan was to create a game where people would imagine themselves in everyday situations and unusual scenarios and respond to simple questions. The answers are interpreted from a psychological perspective and tell us something about the way that person's mind works. It's kind of like a Rorschach test that uses words instead of inkblots.

The concept was the easy part. The hard part was keeping the balance between science and fun. Professor Saito can vouch for the science; only you can be the judge of whether we've succeeded on the fun side. I'm not a psychologist myself, but I do understand enough about human nature to know that people don't like long introductions — especially not to a book of games. So I'm going to end by leaving you with a list of eight tips for making your experience with Kokology satisfying, enlightening, and fun.


— Tadahiko Nagao

Copyright © 2001 by I.V.S. Television Co., Ltd., and Yomiuri Telelcasting Corporation

When Is a Door Not a Door?

It isn't every day that you have the time to take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood: a stroll without purpose or destination, a chance to stretch the legs, let the mind wander, and get reacquainted with some old familiar sights. On your way, perhaps you'd stop in at a cozy coffee shop, explore the paths of a favorite park, or take the opportunity to do some window-shopping. Then there are those days when it's enough just to let your feet decide your course....

Picture yourself on a stroll through town. The day is beautiful and you're half-lost in a daydream. You turn onto a street that you've never been down before, and as you walk you pass a beautiful house set somewhat back from the street. Pausing a moment to admire this lovely home, you notice the door is half-open. Why is the door ajar?

1. The house is being burglarized.

2. The owner forgot to close it.

3. The owner is inside, sweeping out the entranceway.

Key to "When Is a Door Not a Door?"

Doors have a twofold significance: they may be passageways, but they can be barriers as well. In particular, the front door of a house represents its first line of defense, all that stands between its inhabitants and the uncertainties of the world outside. By imagining as open a door that should normally be closed, you envision a scenario of vulnerability and exposure. On a subconscious level, the reason you imagined for the door being open is linked to the ways that you leave yourself open and expose your own weaknesses to others.

1. The house is being burglarized.

You instantly assume the worst in any situation, and this trait is nowhere more evident than when things actually do go wrong. You never get flustered in a crisis, but only because you're much too busy panicking. So the next time disaster strikes, it's important to keep a clear head and remember to take a few deep breaths first and count to ten. Then you can faint.

2. The owner forgot to close it.

You aren't the type to get carried away in crisis situations. On the contrary, you're so relaxed that you may not notice a crisis is occurring at all. The mistakes you make are caused more by oversight than bad intentions, but the end results for you (and the people around you) are the same.

3. The owner is inside, sweeping out the entranceway.

You may appear to be a laid-back sort, but you never let your guard down. Achieving that constant state of relaxed alertness is what has made you into the mature individual you are. Of course, you still have your human weaknesses; you just don't put them on display for all the world to see.

Copyright © 2001 by I.V.S. Television Co., Ltd., and Yomiuri Telelcasting Corporation

Postmarked: The Future

Lounging around the house one Saturday afternoon, you are startled out of your reverie by the doorbell. When you open the door, you're greeted by a most unusual surprise — a pair of animal messengers has come to deliver news of your life in the future! But when you open their messages, you see they contain very different predictions of what lies in store for you. One of the animals has brought a letter foretelling a life of happiness and contentment; the other prophesies only disaster and despair.

Which of the animals below brought glad tidings and which an omen of doom? (Pick a different animal for each.)

1. Tiger.

2. Dog.

3. Sheep.

4. Parrot.

5. Tortoise.

Key to "Postmarked: The Future"

For most people, the future is greatly influenced by their selection of a mate or life partner. The animal messengers in this scenario actually correspond to your own perceptions of the kinds of people likely to bring you joy and grief. Animals are rich and complex in psychological significance, with a range of positive and negative attributes and associations. In this scenario, the animal you chose as the bearer of the message of happiness represents the type of person you perceive as an ideal spouse, while the doomsayer animal is the type you fear would drag you down into the depths.

1. Tiger.

glad tidings: You see yourself happiest with an ambitious and powerful mate, possessed of an indomitable will to rule.

gloom and doom: You dread the prospect of a vain, tyrannical partner who struts around like a lord of the jungle and growls at any mention of sharing the housework.

2. Dog.

glad tidings: Unquestioning loyalty and absolute devotion are the things you seek most in your mate.

gloom and doom: You are utterly incompatible with those who try to please everyone and fret over what others might be thinking.

3. Sheep.

glad tidings: You see the key to contentment in a warmhearted, nurturing spouse.

gloom and doom: You fear winding up stuck with a boring homebody content to spend each day grazing the same old patch of grass.

4. Parrot.

glad tidings: Nothing would suit you better than a talkative, fun-loving partner who knows how to make you laugh.

gloom and doom: No one could suit you worse than a chattering layabout with a severe allergy to work.

5. Tortoise.

glad tidings: Your match made in heaven is serious, dependable, and sure to be there in your hour of need.

gloom and doom: The prospect of a lifetime spent with a frustratingly slow-moving, slow-witted partner is your worst nightmare.

Copyright © 2001 by I.V.S. Television Co., Ltd., and Yomiuri Telelcasting Corporation

A Glazed Expression

Arts and crafts class is almost a rite of passage in our society, a grueling test of the human spirit in which young initiates strive to force rubber cement, pipe cleaners, modeling clay, and papier-mâché to bend to their will. And few of us can claim to have managed to avoid the experience of creating an object — be it ceramic mask, napkin holder, or the obligatory ashtray — only to be confronted by an empty expanse demanding that you do something, anything, to decorate it.

A plain white coffee mug of your own design sits ready for the kiln and is staring at you in blank anticipation. You have chosen to use blue glaze; now, if only you could decide on the pattern....

Which of the following patterns do you paint in blue on the mug?

1. Stripes.

2. Polka dots.

3. Checks.

4. Wavy lines.

Key to "A Glazed Expression"

Blue is the color most deeply associated with the inner workings of the mind, from imagination to intuition to intellect. The white surface of your coffee mug provides a blank slate and gives your mind free rein to express itself in the most comfortable, natural way. In this sense, the pattern you selected reflects the structure and strengths of your mind in its approach to creativity and problem solving.

1. Stripes.

You favor a direct and clear-cut approach, making you a keen decision maker able to resolve problems and put plans into action instantly. It's only natural that people perceive you as a leader and pillar of strength in difficult times.

2. Polka dots.

Your strength lies in the adaptive, artistic nature of your mind. This may make you appear to be a little offbeat, perhaps even eccentric to some, but you make a real contribution to the world as a creator with a unique vision.

3. Checks.

You excel at mastering the demands of the everyday, but in no way does that make you average or ordinary. Few people are able to organize their lives with such quiet efficiency. And the result of your efforts is that you always seem to have the time, wealth, and compassion to share with those in need.

4. Wavy lines.

Your gift is in generating an atmosphere in which it's easy and comfortable to feel and express love. It's not that you crave attention or affection, but people just naturally feel good about taking care of and supporting you. And all that goodwill has a ripple effect, touching the lives of those around you in subtle ways. Ask the people who know and love you — the world is a better place for your being in it.

Copyright © 2001 by I.V.S. Television Co., Ltd., and Yomiuri Telelcasting Corporation

Wave After Wave

Perhaps it's because we instinctively trace the roots of life back to the oceans, perhaps it's something hardwired deep within our brains; whatever the reason may be, the sea holds a special power over us. The tang of the salt air, the fine spray of the surf, the soft crashing of the waves — the net effect is to stimulate and soothe. Sometimes a stroll along a sandy beach can transport you much further from your everyday reality than the actual distance you walk. That may be why the sea holds a special place in lovers' hearts. It provides them with the chance to journey together, if only for a brief time, into another world.

1. You are walking along a quiet beach. As you wander the dunes, you spot a surfboard washed up on the sand. Describe the surfboard and the impression it makes on you.

2. You climb onto the board and paddle out to try your luck on the waves. How are the conditions for surfing today?

3. You have managed to get to your feet and are experiencing the thrill of actually riding the wave, when suddenly you wipe out and tumble headfirst into the water. What do you think, feel, or try to scream as you struggle to find your way back to the surface?

4. You finally emerge from the water unscathed, and looking back toward the beach, you see that a person you know has been watching you. Who is that person?

Key to "Wave After Wave"

Most of us sense intuitively the strong psychological associations between the sea and sex. The way you imagined your experience on the waves tells us something about your expectations and desires in the sexual realm.

1. Throughout history and across cultures, the sea is portrayed as feminine. Against that backdrop, the surfboard provides an overt example of what Freud referred to as a "phallic symbol." Women: Your description of the surfboard corresponds with your image and impression of masculine sexual characteristics. Men: Your answer shows your perception of your own physical sexuality.

"It's just like every other surfboard out there. You've seen one, you've seen 'em all." Either you haven't seen enough surfboards, or you've seen far too many.

"It's a monster wooden longboard, freshly waxed and gleaming, with a red stripe up the middle." Thanks for sharing, but that's just a little more than any of us wanted to know.

"A sad-looking, beaten-up old board that nobody wants anymore." Don't rush to judgment. Who knows? A little wax, a little buffing, and that old board might look as good as new.

2. The surfing conditions you described reveal your own hopes and expectations from sex.

"The water is warm and inviting. Wave after wave breaks softly on the beach." That's enough to put anyone in the mood.

"The water's a little chilly, and there's not a wave in sight." Don't worry, there will be other days, other chances. Maybe today you can just snuggle up in a beach blanket.

"Towering surf! A fifty-foot tsunami! Cowabunga, baby!!!" Down, boy! Heel!

3. Total submersion within the churning waters is a metaphor for the peak of sexual pleasure. Your thoughts and feelings as you struggled upward correspond to those you experience in the throes of ecstasy.

"Oh, damn — I almost made it that time! I was so close!" I take it you were expecting something more from the experience?

"Help! Somebody please help me! I can't breathe!" Hopefully somebody around here knows mouth-to-mouth.

"Hey, this isn't so bad. I think I'll just stay down here and have a swim around until the wave passes." Don't get too comfortable down there. You're going to have to come up for air sometime.

4. The person you pictured standing on the beach is someone you show intense interest in, in a sexual sense. This doesn't necessarily indicate active sexual desire; it may be that you're simply curious about what that person is like in the most intimate and unguarded of moments. Then again maybe, just maybe, that's something you want to find out firsthand.

Was the person you named your current lover or a secret love interest? That shouldn't be too hard to accept. But then there are always those who name a member of the same sex, a cousin, their dentist....Don't worry, your secrets are safe with us.

Copyright © 2001 by I.V.S. Television Co., Ltd., and Yomiuri Telelcasting Corporation

Building a New Tomorrow

The clock struck twelve, the ball dropped in Times Square, and the sound of champagne corks popping was heard around the globe. And after all the buildup, hoopla, and hype, after the apocalyptic anxieties and eager anticipation, the world somehow managed to find its way safely into the new millennium. Looking back, we can see that the prophecies of doom were overblown and the Y2K bug seems like little more than a ploy to sell system upgrades. But we, the last children of the twentieth century, all shared for a moment that sense of newness and opportunity — the chance to make a world better than the one we inherited and create a legacy to share with our children and theirs over the next thousand years.

1. You are working for an urban planning corporation and have been assigned to the community development team for a major new millennium project. You have been asked to come up with an inspirational theme for the city. What theme do you propose?

2. The project team has a number of members, each with a certain set of experiences and skills. Why do you think you were selected to participate in this project? (Give as many reasons as you like.)

3. What kind of person is the project manager? Describe his or her personality and qualities as a leader.

Key to "Building a New Tomorrow"

Towns and cities are natural symbols of social life. Most of the cities we are familiar with sprang up unplanned and spread outward and upward in a seemingly random fashion. But this scenario asks you to deliberately plan a city for the future, giving your mind the chance to express its vision of an ideal setting for human interaction. Your answers reveal your approach and feelings about the social world around you.

1. The theme you selected for the new city is something you feel is absolutely essential to your own happiness as a member of society. And for most people, that means the very thing they sense is most sorely lacking in their environment at present.

Was your theme something ideal, like "harmony," "peace," or "Mother Nature"? We all feel the need for more of those these days. Or did you pick something along the lines of a cartoon fantasy world where everyone smiles all the time and the sun is always shining? That may actually be an easier goal to achieve, but you're facing some strong competition in Orlando, Anaheim, and Tokyo.

2. The reasons you gave for being picked for the team are strengths you see in yourself that no one else recognizes. That may be because those "strengths" are not quite as strong as you might like to think. The people around you are the most objective judges of your potential. Don't be afraid to listen to what others have to say about your abilities — their evaluations can steer you away from the dead-end streets of overconfidence and self-deception.

3. The team manager reveals your own image of yourself in the future. Do you see yourself developing into a supportive, motivated, and inspirational leader, or a harsh and unreasonable slave driver? If it's the latter, you may want to start reconsidering the particular path to personal development you're currently heading down. Even Scrooge got the chance to repent.

Copyright © 2001 by I.V.S. Television Co., Ltd., and Yomiuri Telelcasting Corporation

Meet the Author

Isamu Saito, a renowned professor at Rissho University in Japan, is the author of a number of bestselling books on psychology and relationships. He created Kokology.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >