The Game of 100 Ghosts

Inspired by an old Japanese parlour game of the Edo period (1603-1868), The Game of 100 Ghosts is a lyrical tribute to the poet’s friends and relations who recently departed their lives. In the game, participants gather in the dark at night and sit around 100 lit candles. Each player tells a ghost story, after which a candle is snuffed out. The last candle ends the spiritual evocation, which the participants hope will summon a supernatural being. This wonderful collection then evokes the spirits of lost friends and relations while paying tribute to a tradition.

“While Watada’s ghost stories are reflective of the speaker’s specific world, they still massage the larger universal mysteries of life—and, of course, death. In this way, Watada’s ghosts bring life to all of our ghosts. While the subject matter of The Game is certainly bittersweet, it leaves the reader feeling hopeful, encouraging us to remember our own departed ones, and to treasure the moments we have together, no matter how mundane they may seem in the present.”
Ricepaper Magazine

“In compiling this work, Watada pays homage to his Japanese-Canadian heritage while also experimenting with traditional syntax.”
World Literature Today, Nota Bene

The Game of 100 Ghosts is highly recommended, and is best read in quiet candlelight.”
Asian Review of Books

“Watada’s Game of 100 Ghosts serves as a conceptual framework for a collection of poems in which the spirits of lost and long-gone family and friends are fondly evoked. These lyrical poems are an affirmation of absent persons who have already become part of Watada’s version of Japanese Canadian life. But it’s not all sweetness and light. In the best tradition of lyric poetry, the dark side, the deeply painful and broodingly personal side gets exposed, too.”
–National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC), The Bulletin

“For Terry, applause and gratitude, because he has held the people in his mind and his heart, and because he gave them back to us.”
–Joy Kogawa, author of Obasan

“A tour de force literary and conceptual achievement, The Game of 100 Ghosts reveals and further illuminates the Japanese Canadian sensibility. Terry Watada’s passion, indeed his life’s work, is to discover, recreate, and uncover the past lost through the silence of his parents and community. His literary and musical career has helped define what is best in Canadian contemporary culture.”
–Anthony B Chan, author of Gold Mountain: The Chinese in the New World

“Terry Watada’s 100 Ghosts surprises us with tales and imagery that are both haunting and real… It creates a safe harbour, a beacon of infinite light to gather those shunned shadowy thoughts and guides them safely out of the dark recesses of history and time. “
–Jim Wong-Chu, Co-editor, Strike the Wok: An Anthology of Chinese Canadian Fiction

“In this piercing collection, Watada’s concrete images take readers to places and people familiar yet almost forgotten, to give order and dignity to the mind’s constant struggle for clarity.”
–Paul Yee, author of Teach Me to Fly, Skyfighter! and Other Stories


Publication Date: September 2014

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-927494-41-7
Page size: 5.5″ x 8.25″
112 pages

eBook ISBN: 978-1-927494-58-5

Photo of Terry Watada

Terry Watada has published three novels, five collections of poetry, and a book of short stories. His fourth novel, Hiroshima Bomb Money (NeWest Press) is set for release in 2024. His new play, Sakura: The Last Cherry Blossom Festival, will premiere in the summer of 2024 during the Lighthouse Summer Theatre Festival, Port Dover, Ontario. He lives in Toronto.

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