Pachinko in the UK
"I saw guys pounding the machines with their fists and screaming" - Kenichiro Nishi (professional pachinko player).
Pachinko is the national game of Japan and over 40 million people play regularly in the country. Pachinko generates approximately 5% of the national income and is big business.
Parlour owners can set pachinko machine settings to dictate number of payouts and how often a jackpot is won. It has been suggested owners set a 60% return for players, which is some 30% less than that of slot machines. As a result it is very unlikely you will win big money playing pachinko.
Indeed, despite many references to the "Pachinko professional", not a single named player could be found to collaborate the claims of big earnings. So accept pachinko for what it is - great fun, flashing lights and the best ball shoot in town!
Legends of Pachinko
Adolph Caille and Jacob Schiemer
Whilst the origin of pachinko is fiercely debated, the inventors may be the Caille-Schiemer Company of the USA who in 1901 registered a patent for their "Log Cabin" vertical pinball machine. Theorists believe this was the machine imported to Japan in the 1920's and the inspiration for Japanese pachinko.
Takeichi Masamura - The Pachinko King
In 1948 Masamura invented the "Masamura Guage" nail setting, the basis of modern pachinko. In 1949 he sold his first pachinko machine called the Masamura Geji. In less than three years his machine had increased the popularity of pachinko ten fold and over 35,000 new pachinko parlours were opened. Masamura's dedication to pachinko was legendary. "If you desire a better life than the others, you have to work three times more than they do, even at night, while they are sleeping".
In 1949 the pachinko pioneer Nakajima founded the Heiwa Corporation in Japan to manufacture pachinko machines. His business rapidly become a world leader and still today holds 30% of pachinko market. ''Money is a traveler. Just when you get comfortable with it, it takes off". Despite this cautious approach, Najajima and his family had accumulated wealth of $5.6 billion by the 1990s, one of the richest men in the world.
Tadashi Sato - Pachinko Power
Tadashi Tadashi Sato is current president of Dynam Co. Ltd, the leading pachinko parlour chain in Japan. The business was started in 1967 and has been integral to the boom of pachinko. Dynam owns and operates well over 200 parlours across Japan, the Pachinkohuro. The company employs over 9,000 people.
One of the most famous pachinko enthusiasts, in the 1990's Doi Takako was leader of the Social Democrat Party in Japan. Whilst not proven, Doi was subject to a political pachinko scandal when accused of accepting party donations from the industry to block legislation exposing the finances of pachinko parlour owners. Yet despite this accusastion, he love for pachinko formed a bond with the people of Japan.
Think Old School
Old school pachinko machines average odds of 325 to 1 of hitting a jackpot (unconfirmed, no one can be 100% sure). However, it is accepted practice that the pachinko professional, the Pachi-Pachi, prefers to play this type of machine as jackpot frequency can be higher.
Try not to be a pachinko tart. It is assumed each machines will experience a "Kakuhen" phase after a period of non-payout on jackpots. During this purple patch of play the machine can pay out up to 5 jackpots in less than 100 spins. However, as with all pachinko information, due to the secrecy involved this cannot be substantiated. Most players play safe and still to one machine the whole time they play, just in case they miss the mythical Kakuhen.
Don't touch other people's balls!
Should you ever be in a pachinko parlour, remember there are rules of etiquette to follow. One of the most important rules is never touch another man's balls. Which let's face it, doesn't necessarily apply just to pachinko!
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