Ah Monopoly, a game where the editions keep coming and coming. I’ve got three versions in our closet here at home but I’ve never seen a version quite like this.
Released to celebrate the 300th anniversary of a Japanese store called Nakagawa Masamichi the Japanese Arts and Craft Edition is a thing of beauty. The design is simple and evokes a more classic feel while the unique tokens in the $80 dollar edition of the game show off the inspiration of Japanese Arts and Crafts.
The goal of the game is functionally the same though you are now trying to corner the market on traditional Japanese Crafts. Here is a brief overview:
Instead of Atlantic Avenue you’ll own a Daruma doll business. Instead of Illinois Avenue you’ll own the Nanbu Ironware craft of making teapots. Instead of the railroads you’ll control Hato-guruma (Dove Cart), an enduring folk art made of a woven two-wheeled bird. By collecting these handmade toys, you’ll discover that they originated in Nagano and are associated with industrious effort because they appealingly depict they way a dove pecks at food while walking.
All the rules are the same except the objective is to form monopolies on certain traditional arts and crafts. Then you can open studios and even shops where your opponents will have to shop for your goods! The community chest and chance cards are replaced by Zipangu cards (“your kutani porcelain exhibition was a success. Collect 150E) and Future cards (advance to go thanks to an apprenticeship system that solves your shortage of labor).
Most beautiful of all is the game board itself designed by Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten, a promoter of traditional crafts and arts. It is decorated with the asanoha(hemp) pattern which is often found in tenugui or furoshiki clothes and forms a map of Japan.
This is a limited edition item however so collecting it at either the $80 dollar value or the $45 dollar value might one day lead you to be holding on to a valuable collectors item.
Bonus History Fact: Nakagawa Masamichi’s history begins in 17th century Japan when Nara Sarashi, was assigned as “goyo-hin” (supplies delivered to the government with permit) by Tokugawa Bakufu (government)