Kuji Blog #3: The art of Kuji

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Do you often play Kuji so much until one point you doubt yourself. I mean I do sometimes, I pretty sure most of you just played for the fun of it. I am quite an analyst so I like to analyst situations and I found that Kuji is a very interesting mechanism for toy hobby.

$13 Towel/Charm

If you were to go around asking people if they would pay $13 for a small towel, charm, visual art, coaster or illustration board, they would pretty much say no.

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I mean why would you spend your hard earn money on such small things that could cost you half or even a tenth of $13! That’s the art of Kuji. It’s all because you have something to gain so you are willing to pay $13 for a ticket that has a high chance of giving you small prizes.

The big prize

Won the *A* Ichiban Kuji prize at 7/11 last night. Trafalgar Law Figure. :  OnePiece
Ichiban Kuji My hero Academia I'm Ready Prize A, Toys & Games, Bricks &  Figurines on Carousell

Now let’s change my question, would you pay $13 to get a cool massive figure? I believe most Otaku would say yes, especially if you really love the character. Both situation is the same $13, why are people so willing to buy a figure but not a towel? Because it’s simple, you can get 4 or 5 towels for the same price but you will have to pay 4 or 5 times more to get a figure.

I believe most of you actually get the logic and feels that I am just talking nonsense, okay let me get to the point here, the art of Kuji here is not about the product but the process of buying. When you purchase a ticket, you are not buying any of the prize, you are buying the chance to get the prize you want and risking getting the prize that you don’t want.

Are the odds really good?

Here’s the funny thing, if you do the math, for a Kuji set of 80 that has 8 top prizes, if you open from a fresh box and buy 1 ticket, you get a 10% chance of getting a top prize, which is my opinion isn’t really a good odds, but the return makes it worth the risk.

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Then how is Kuji different from gambling? In gambling you bet money against the dealer and see who has better luck and whoever does wins the money. It’s the same concept for Kuji, you are comparing luck with the shop, if you win a top prize with 1 ticket out of a fresh box, then the shop is going to have a bad day ahead since his/her box is harder to sell, but you get to walk away happy, vice versa. The difference between Kuji and gambling is that you as a customer will get something, you are not trying to multiply money with money, you are basically trying to buy your figure with $13 and risking getting a towel.

You are not on the winning side

So even if you are lucky to get a top prize, you cannot choose the prize (unless some situation you can), if you want a prize B and you pull prize A then you got prize A, you can’t switch it. Similarly if you want a towel for small prize and you pull a charm, then you get a charm. You pretty much cannot win.

The Popularity of Kuji

Despite saying all my previous points about risk and lack of choice, why do people still buy Kuji? It’s simple, they want the fun of winning, it’s the process that makes it fun, when you pull that top prize you feel like you just win a lottery, it makes you feel really good.

We won Japanese Kuji Lottery Tickets from an arcade game?! - YouTube

Do people really keep all the small prizes they pull? Probably not all. As much as they are usable items, there is only so much things you can hang your charm, so much place to place your visual art, so many mouth to drink from a bottle and so many face to wash with the towels.

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You see people selling the small prizes in the market for as low as $1, it makes your price feel worthless sometimes when you pulled it.

Buy ticket or prizes directly?

If you just want a prize from a kuji set, it’s always best to buy the prizes directly, a figure will cost probably around $100, and you buying 10 tickets might not even get you that figure. A small prize can go as low as $1, you shouldn’t buy a ticket in hopes of getting a small prize that you want.

How To Play The Ichiban Kuji Lottery In 8 Simple Steps-EPISODE 55 - YouTube

If you like a series for a Kuji set and you want to show your support, buying 1 to 5 tickets is fine, because no matter what you pull, you won’t feel so bad. If you really want to collect everything from a series, then just buy 10 or 20 tickets and try your luck.

Have Fun

Be it getting a towel, charm or a top prize, just be happy about it, because if not it defeats the purpose of Kuji. You are supposed to be happy buying it, because if you are only happy if you get the top prize, then just buy the top prize directly. Don’t spend money and still feel sad about the process, if you can’t afford the risk, don’t spend, because it’s a process that you are paying for and it should bring joy to you. That’s also a reason why people buy tickets instead of buying the prizes directly. This is just part and parcel of life, but most importantly, have fun!

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