Jinro Game

I’m a fan of the actor Takeru Satoh. While knowing nothing about him beyond his acting career and whatever he puts on Youtube, I can’t help but try to watch anything he’s been in.

I’m also a casual fan of Jin Akanishi – I was more a fan of his in my 20s than I am now, I think mostly because I don’t really have the time or energy to be a fan of too many people at once. The hobbies he posts about on his Youtube channel also don’t really align with mine. That being said, sometimes he posts things I like.

A few years back, especially during the pandemic, I was stunned to see Takeru Satoh and Jin Akanishi actually know one another as their two Youtube channels did a collaboration involving a game called “Werewolf” in English, apprently, and called “Jinro (werewolf) Game” in Japanese.

I started watching because I’m a fan of both celebrities, and seeing them together was altogether intriguing, but as I watched the game unfold, I fell madly in love with it not only for being so maddeningly simple in terms of preparation but also because it seemed like an amazing game to flex your acting skills, not to mention your memory. Jin Akanishi and Takeru Satoh also played with a group of other famous Japanese celebrities, which made the game all the more fun for me just to watch.

Knowing nothing about this game beyond what I’ve seen on their Youtube channels, I do know that it’s now become one of my dearest ambitions to play it someday.

The rules are (basically, and only from what I’ve gleaned from watching the Youtube game): You need a group of at least 9 people. One person is the moderator, the other 8 play the game.

Of the 8, there are two werewolves. The remaining are villagers or a fortune teller. It is the job of the villagers and fortune teller to figure out who the werewolves are walking among them, and it is the job of the werewolves to stay hidden and try to get other innocent people accused of being a werewolf. Each round is about 6 minutes long, at the end of which everyone accuses one person of being a werewolf.

Jin Akanishi’s Youtube channel suddenly posted a few days ago what is turning into a marathon of “Jinro Game” spread across a plethora of Youtube channels that features Takeru Satoh alongside a host of famous people in Japan (though I still have no idea who Jimmy Martin is).

In this version, a knight, shaman and a hunter have been added into the group, each with their own tricks they can pull to sweeten the game. Also, after six minutes, the person with the most accusations gets “killed”, then night falls, and another player might get killed if a werewolf is still among the group. This continues for two rounds, sometimes three.

If the villagers and non-werewolf players successfully boot out the two werewolves, then they win. If even one werewolf remains after about three rounds, however, the werewolves win.

I think in terms of preparation, you just need 8 playing cards that have the identities written on one side. That’s it. Ridiculously simple.

The fun and complications comesin trying to guess who’s lying about who they are and who isn’t. Werewolves happily declare they’re actually a villager or sit back and let the accusations fly around them while looking innocently confused.

Some people have a natural talent for this game, and Takeru Satoh is one of them. He is the teacher for the game in the videos even in this newer installment to the “Jinro Game” series for them, but all the while he’s pulling out all kinds of tricks and devious schemes as he eyes each person the way I think a lot of detectives might. While most of the other celebrities are fumbling around trying to grasp their way through the nuances, Takeru Satoh is in his element.

Just once, I wish I could try to play this game against him just to see if I could beat him at his own game. I think I’m going to add it to my bucket list the same way a lot of people might write “Win the lottery.”

The 2024 game is currently up to volume 4, and unfortunately it’s only in Japanese, but for those of you interested, the first volume is here:

This entertains me to no end