The game’s early roots in China can be traced back to Han Dynasty, where it was known as ‘shoushiling,’ which literally translated into ‘hand command.’ The game had a variety of rules, but the basic principle was that a player would use their fingers to create signs, and whoever made the most complex formation would be declared the winner. This game was popular throughout China and was played by adults and children alike.
The game was later introduced to Japan, where it took on the name ‘janken.’ There was a specific set of rules which dictated the formation of the hands, allowing players to take turns choosing a gesture, and the winner was determined by the specific way that the hands aligned. The game was popularized by the samurai, who would use it as a way to resolve conflicts and make decisions.
In the late 19th century, the game arrived in Europe. It was quickly adopted by British soldiers who were stationed in Japan, and they brought the game back home with them. It became known as ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ in the UK, with specific hand gestures assigned to each of the three possible moves. It’s believed that the game’s name reflects the sound that the hand gestures make when they collide.
In America, a variant known as ‘roshambo’ began to gain popularity in the 20th century. The name was derived from a French word that means ‘to shuffle.’ The game became popular among soldiers during WWII. It’s believed that American soldiers picked up the game while stationed in Asia and brought it back home with them.
Today, rock paper scissors is played in countries across the world, and there is even a World Rock Paper Scissors Championship held in Toronto every year. The game has become a cultural icon, and some even use it as a way to settle legal disputes. In 2006, two lawyers in the US settled a legal battle by playing RPS. The winning lawyer was allowed to select the location of the trial!
In conclusion, the history of rock paper scissors is a long and fascinating one that spans centuries and continents. From its origins in China, to its widespread popularity on the battlefields of Europe and Asia, this humble game has evolved and adapted to suit the cultures and needs of different societies. Today, it continues to captivate and entertain people of all ages, uniting us in a simple yet powerful way.
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