More than 40,000 stores have opened in China, and the trend is expected to spread to Japan as well…! What is “Murder Mystery”, a new sensory experience? | FRIDAY DIGITAL

More than 40,000 stores have opened in China, and the trend is expected to spread to Japan as well…! What is “Murder Mystery”, a new sensory experience?

Clear a mission as a "character in the story" while searching for the culprit of the crime.

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Murder Mystery is basically done around a table. The table is equipped with a script, information cards, and notepads.

Murder Mystery is not a game. It is an experience of a story.

Ryunosuke Sakai, 46, the representative of Rabbithole, the first store in Japan specializing in Murder Mystery, explains the appeal of Murder Mystery enthusiastically.

Murder Mystery is a new type of interactive game event in which players take on the role of a character in a murder scenario as they search for the culprit. For example, in a scenario in which a murder occurs at a reunion held at a snowy mountain villa, the players play the roles of several classmates, a servant, a cook, and other characters. First, the participants confirm their roles and their actions before and after the incident in the script. The script for the role of the murderer includes the murder weapon, the time of the crime, and the reason for the murder. The cooks are required to behave in a way that matches their character and complete their missions, a new genre that combines elements of both theater and games.

It is said to have originated in Europe and the United States, but it became explosively popular in China after it was featured on a variety show in 2004. In 2009, there were 40,000 stores specializing in the game, making it the hottest pastime among young people.

The aforementioned Mr. Sakai was attracted to the game the first time he played it, and opened his own store in 1919. He says that the search for the culprit is similar to a wargame, but that the purpose of a Murder Mystery is not only to find the culprit.

In movies and novels, you are looking at the story from the outside, even if you are emotionally involved. In a Murder Mystery, on the other hand, you watch the story while putting yourself in the story. I experience the story through my frustration, crying, being moved, getting angry, and so on. Murder Mystery focuses on the process of experiencing rather than winning or losing like a game.”

The rule is that once you experience the game, all the mysteries are solved and you can never play the same scenario twice. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Nevertheless, there are some concerns. Since the game requires information processing and improvisation in a short period of time, can people who are not good at such things enjoy it? Makoto Oguri, 24, who has been playing the game for three years and has been a game master (facilitator) for one year, said, “The way to enjoy Murder Mystery is to play the game.

Everyone enjoys Murder Mystery differently. Some people want to focus on the mystery, some want to act, some like the characters, and some just want to enjoy the atmosphere. Sometimes I have trouble keeping up with the discussion, but everyone has some clue, and there will always come a time when that information comes into focus. Even if I’m not good at talking, I’m never the only one left behind as we play.”

Depending on the scenario, the average playing time is as long as three to four hours per session. During that time, participants explore and cooperate with each other to solve the case. In order to deepen friendships through hours of interaction, the game is sometimes played at social gatherings and blind dates in China. Chinese Murder Mystery also lends itself to theme-appropriate décor and costumes in order to get people more involved in the story.

It is likely that this will eventually become as popular in Japan as it is in China.

In addition to the discussion between all the players, it is also possible for two players to exchange information during the progress of the game. This is called “secret talks.
Mr. Sakai, a representative of Rabbithole, spoke enthusiastically about the appeal of Murder Mystery. He also participated in the supervision of the scenario.
In China, Murder Mystery also offers a more realistic experience on a set used for filming TV dramas.

From the December 30, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Takayuki Ogawauchi, courtesy of "@Esinen Fried Egg" (4th photo) from Chinese SNS (Xiaohongsho)

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