52 States in 8 Months

Jan-ken-pon, Ching-Chang-Chong or simply Chifoumi

Posted in Uncategorized by Ulf on March 25, 2009

rock_paper_scissorsI recently asked myself where the game “Ching-Chang-Chong” comes from. I was a bit disappointed when I read that the German title of the Wikipedia page is in fact “Schere, Stein, Papier”. When we were young, we never called it like this! The game is called “Ching, Chang, Chong”, and there’s an end to it!

However, I was quite astonished when I realized that this game is really played all around the world! Here in the US they know it as “Rock-paper-scissors”, or RPS. My Korean office mate knows it and both the Chinese office mates know it. Another Korean here in the lab knows it, too, but he said it would be more common to give one’s choice not by making a gesture with the hand but by moving the feet (widening them means scissors, doing a step means paper and putting them together means stone, I think). The children in Turkey also play RPS, but:

Neither the Indians nor the Pakistani know it! (Well, one of the Indians did, but all the others did not). Maybe the British were to much focused on cricket when they colonized that area.

Some other stuff about Chifoumi:

  • The French Wikipedia page on Pierre-feuille-ciseaux mentions a 2005 Jan-ken-pon match that decided about whether Christie’s or Sotheby’s would organize the auction of some paintings. Christie’s won because they took the scissors. This was an obvious step if one considers that they were going to sell paintings (like paper).
  • There are many videos on YouTube about Rock Paper Scissors. Watch this one, and that one.
  • The Finnish Wikipedia page about Kivi, paperi ja sakset mentioned this picture:



11 Responses

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  1. Mascha said, on March 25, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    I’m Canada we call it Ching-Chong-Push…or Rock Paper Scissors. However, most people call it Ching-Chong-Push, you know, to sound exotic ;)

  2. Ulf said, on March 26, 2009 at 1:59 am

    I like that. It’s very similar to our Ching-Chang-Chong :-).

    Somewhere between Arizona and Utah there is a small “Best Western” hotel room where they also call it “Ching Chang Chong”. At least one of the three Germans in there does ;-).

  3. Fabi said, on March 26, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Do you know “Beat battles”? This is where really cool hip hop gangsters bring CDs with their own recorded beats and play their beats against each other in a tournament (always 1-on-1). Naturally, they have to decide who plays first.
    Guess what? They use Ching-Chang-Cong! :)

    Unfortunately I didn’t hear what they say (I think nothing), but nevertheless it was so funny seeing the really cool guys playing my childhood game ;). BTW: In rap battles it’s the same.

    [From my experience in San Francisco & Oakland]

  4. martin said, on March 26, 2009 at 8:15 am

    In my good old hometown the official name was “Schnick Schnack Schnuck”. But we often extended the game with fountain and fire, which, I had to recognize some day, doesn’t make sense from a statistical point of view…

  5. Ulf said, on March 26, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Haha, that sounds cool!

  6. Tommy said, on March 27, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    however, it totally looses its magic when you find out there’s a trivial mixed strategy nash equilibrium for that game. … for years i thought rock would always win in the long run. … well at least in some way i was right –> nice clips!

  7. Anne said, on April 2, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    We also used to call it Schnick Schnack Schnuck… :)

  8. Ulf said, on April 3, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Kommunistenbezeichnung ;-).

  9. […] I’ve had 290 views altogether on that single post. The only post which comes close is about Rock, Paper, Scissors (274 views). But I believe that people also don’t care about the text I wrote, they were just […]

  10. ray said, on July 19, 2009 at 12:00 am

    They got live version of janken on Japanese TV

  11. Caroline said, on April 30, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Really cool.. I found your site when I looked for pictures of what we call “stein, saks, papir” .. It is a little bit related to German.. haha..`But, they have many “sch” sounds, and we don’t.. I like this post. Cool to read.. I’ll start to call it “Ching, Chang, Chong” .. :)

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