Poetry Gambling

In 17th century Japan, citizens began betting on games of poetry. The precursor to the development of the art form of haiku, haikai was a parlor game that spread from the scholars and aristocrats to the common people.

The educated classes of Japan were disturbed by the spread of haikai to the “unsophisticated” country peoples. As officials began cracking down on gambling, the game eventually died out.

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By Go-Toba (Shin Kokin Wakashū) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons