The first lotteries in Japan are said to date from the
1630's, about 360 years ago. The went through a series of bannings and revivals
until 1842, when they were banned completely. This lasted until shortly before
the end of the Second World War, in 1945, when lotteries were revived to obtain
funds for the war effort.
In October 1945, immediately after the war, the
Japanese government began selling lottery tickets under the name Takara-kuji
meaning "fortune" or "treasure" lottery. The government's aims then were to
soak up idle capital in order to contain rampant inflation and to procure funds
for post-war reconstruction.
In 1946, local governments were also permitted
to organize Takara-kuji lotteries. From 1954, when the national government
abandoned the lottery, they became the exclusive issuing bodies of
Since the first Takara-kuji was sold about fifty years ago,
these lotteries have grown with the country, and today they are supported by a
wide range of groups within the Japanese population. The profit collected from
the sales of Takara-kuji has also become a significant part of each local
government's budget and is used for public works and so forth.
Japanese law, only the nation's 47 prefectures and 12 specially designated
cities may organize Takara-kuji lotteries.
A lottery must first obtain the
approval of the local assembly and then the Minister of Home Affairs. The
actual operation of the lottery (i.e., printing and delivery of the tickets to
retail outlets, public relations, advertising, sales, draws, announcement of
winning numbers, payment of prizes, etc.) is entrusted by law to the
Although several banks have performed this function since 1945, The
Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank has long taken a leading role and
at present is the sole trustee.
Japanese lotteries are broadly divided into
traditional or conventional style lotteries, with printed numbers on the
tickets, and others in which the player can choose any combination of digits.
Some of the former offer special features, such as one with a very high first
prize or with low-value prizes but better odds of winning. The latter, which
were introduced in 1994, are called the "Numbers". Other recently developed
products include an instant lottery and the Double-Chance Lottery, which
combine the conventional and instant types.
There are six major lottery
types, classified by sales regions. The All-Japan Lottery is sold throughout
the country. The four "bloc" lotteries are sold in each of Japan's four bloc
regions (the Kanto-Chubu-Tohoku region, Tokyo Metropolitan District, the Kinki
region and the West Japan region) and the Local Medical Care Promotion
Lotteries (the so-called Rainbow Lotteries) are sold in designated regions. The
Rainbow Lotteries are designed to aid in the purchase of equipment to upgrade
facilities at the Jichi Medical School, established for medical care promotion
in rural areas, as well as to obtain funds for building a welfare society for
The All-Japan Lottery is held 12 times a year, with the bloc
lotteries being held generally every week in each bloc region, and the Rainbow
Lotteries being held nine times a year.
In addition to these regularly
issued lotteries, the Event Lottery was created in 1989, the sales of which are
permitted only on the premises of Expositions and local events sponsored by
local governments. This is one of the instant lotteries and is favorably
received in each region since the odds of winning are higher than other types
The Japan Lottery Association can be found at:
See also: Dai-Ichi Kangyo