Rock paper scissors, also known as RPS, is a universally popular game played by people of all ages and cultural background. Its simplicity and easy-to-learn rules make it a favorite among children and adults alike, providing endless hours of entertainment and friendly competition. But have you ever wondered where this game came from? What is the history behind the rock paper scissors we all know and love today?
The origins of RPS can be traced back to ancient China. The game was known as Janken and was played by Chinese merchants who used it to determine who got to trade with foreign countries. The game was simple – each player would choose one of three hand gestures: rock, paper, or scissors. Rock was represented by a closed fist, paper by an open hand, and scissors by the index and middle finger extended.
From China, the game spread to Japan in the 17th century, where it was called Jan-ken-pon. The Japanese version was popular among samurai and commoners alike, and it was often used as a way to settle disputes. It became so widespread that even the Emperor of Japan was known to play Jan-ken-pon with his courtiers.
In the 19th century, RPS made its way to Europe and was quickly embraced by children and adults. The game was played in a variety of settings, from schoolyards to pubs, and it was known by different names depending on the country. In the UK and Ireland, it was called “scissors paper stone,” while in the United States, it was known as “rock paper scissors.”
Over time, variations of RPS emerged. In some countries, players would add more gestures to the mix, such as lizard and spock, creating a more complex game with more variables. In other countries, players would assign special meanings to each gesture, such as rock symbolizing strength, paper representing knowledge, and scissors representing cunning.
Today, RPS is not only a game but also an international sport. The World RPS Society was established in the early 2000s, and competitive RPS tournaments are held around the world, with players from different countries competing for the title of champion.
In conclusion, the history of RPS is a fascinating and fun story that shows how a simple game can evolve over time and spread across different cultures and continents. While the origins of the game may be ancient, the joy and excitement it brings continue to endure and entertain new generations of players. So the next time you play rock paper scissors with a friend or family member, remember the rich history behind this timeless classic.