A deeper look at Pachinko balls

Hi there!

Today, we want to talk a little bit more about Pachinko and more precisely about the balls used in this fabulous mechanical game as they inspired us for one of our designs.

Some of you might have never heard of it: what is Pachinko? Pachinko is a mechanical game somewhat similar to slot machines, but it uses balls instead of coins, and it differs in many other ways too. This game has become a popular gambling activity in Japan and you can find thousands of Pachinko parlors throughout the country. We’ll talk more about the game itself in a future post, but for now let’s focus on the pachinko balls.

Pachinko machines use small steel balls (11mm diameter and around 5.75 grams each). Most of the balls used in Pachinko are of silver color (chrome plated) but some are also gold/brass plated. However, golden balls usually don’t have higher value than chrome plated ones: they are just inserted to make the game more fun and thrilling!


Gold plated Pachinko balls

Gold Pachinko balls 


Nowadays, many parlors use manufactured balls that have no writing or engraving in them. However, authentic pachinko balls are normally engraved with a name or a design to identify the parlor where they are from. Since it’s forbidden to remove balls from a parlor to use it elsewhere, engraving balls helps preventing players from taking them outside of a parlor.


Pachinko balls with engraved parlor name

An example of engraved Pachinko balls


Pachinko is an integral part of Japanese culture: it is so much ingrained in Japanese culture as a recreational activity that the gambling revenue generated by Pachinko activity in Japan exceeds that of Las Vegas & Macau combined! It must be an exciting game!


Pachinko parlors pachinko slots

Yep, pachinko parlors can be pretty darn big! These players are so into the game!


At Akaiji, we got inspired by Pachinko and its silver/gold balls: so much so that we have designed our own Pachinko Balls products! You can find a beautiful Pachinko All-Over Men’s T-Shirt in the men’s section (https://www.akaiji.com/collections/t-shirts/products/pachinko-balls-all-over-cut-sew-mens-t-shirt) and you can also get either an 11oz or a 15oz Pachinko Balls Coffee Mug, perfect to keep you warm for these holidays (https://www.akaiji.com/collections/mugs/products/pachinko-balls-coffee-mug)! We’re also planning future designs related to this wicked game; so stay tuned!

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Domō Arigatō.

Team Akaiji