Pachinko   パチンコ

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The driveway of a Pachinko.

Pachinko balls

The metal balls Pachinko.

balls and noise

Loud noises and bright lights: here you are at the entrance of a Pachinko, a hobby midway between pinball and slot machines!

The metal ball is put into play, its speed adjusted, the player watches it trajectory, eyes full of hope...

It was at this moment where pinball turns into a slot machine. Three symbols appear on the screen. If they are identical, jackpot! Or rather, a lot of balls. Because in Japan, gambling is illegal!

Despite being illegal, there are nearly 15,000 Pachinko places across the country. These noisy machines are among the most popular leisure activity in Japan.

Giving an extra challenge to the game is the "trading" that gets Pachinko out of trouble with the law. Prizes won - cigarette packs, stuffed animals or audio equipment - can be exchanged for money in shops near playrooms, usually at the hands of yakuza.

Pachinko managers are indeed known for their proximity to the Japanese mafia ...

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