Quick, answer this little quiz for me before you read on, the first thing that comes to mind will do:

1. A book is lying in front of you. What type of story does it contain?

2. You begin to read and soon find that you yourself are a character in the story. What kind of role do you play?

3. You read further and come to a section where the pages have been damaged, making them nearly impossible to read. What part of the story is it?

4. You have just closed the cover after finishing the book. How was the ending?

The little quiz above is from the book Kokology: The Game of Self Discovery by Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito, who define kokology (Japanese kokoro, mind, spirit, feelings + Greek logia, the study of) as “a series of psychological games designed to uncover emotional and behavioral traits of the players.”

I discovered Kokology in high school, when the first volume came out. I remember how we took turns checking the book out from the library and answered the quizzes in between classes, or when the teacher wasn’t looking.

Last year, I mooched a hardbound edition that compiles both volumes 1 and 2, and I’ve been answering random pages whenever the mood strikes.

It kills me that I forgot about this book for the Flips Flipping Pages Japanese book discussion a couple of weeks ago! *palm face*

I found out that before the book, Kokology was actually *drumroll please* a game show that ran in the early 90′s, where contestants answer the quiz questions and the interpretation turns out to be shocking or hilarious (e.g. what you shout when your roller coaster car plunges into pool = what you scream at orgasm).

In the hardbound compilation, there are over a hundred quizzes that delve into the subconscious, revealing how you truly feel about work, love, family, sex, and many more! Psych testing has never been this fun — I remember once when I was applying for a job, we had to undergo psychological profiling and it was a half-day’s worth of seemingly endless tests; I was getting paranoid about what I was revealing to a potential employer and I felt like my brain was getting picked. Kokology takes a more subtle, non-threatening approach.

Of course, like all pop psychology, Kokology interpretations range from spot-on to totally off the mark (depending on the person), and it’s up to you to take it or leave it. But it does provide great entertainment for small groups who are game for some good-natured ribbing.

So let’s see what your answers say about you.

According to Kokology, books and school are inextricably linked, and the answers you gave in response to this scenario likewise echo your own experiences during school.

1. The type of story you imagined reflects your general impression of your school years.

Does your answer suggest you lived through a comedy, a mystery, or a romance? Then again, who among us didn’t?

Or perhaps it was an erotic novel? Either you were a very precocious child or you had an overactive imagination.

A Shakespearean tragedy? The fact that you survived all five acts has added nobility to your character.

2. The role you saw yourself in is the image you have of yourself in your time as a student.

Were you the star of the tale? A sidekick? Comic relief? Or no more than a bit player with only a single dialogue on page 283? It may just be that your character was being developed for the sequel.

3. The scene described in the damaged pages mirrors a situation in which you were hurt during your youth. Broken hearts can hurt as much as an act of violence, and even seemingly minor traumas can take a lifetime to heal. Although at first there might not seem to be any immediate connection to your life, if you think back to your past, it’s more likely you’ll find some buried painful memory associated with the scene.

4. The ending of the story is an expression of your feelings of closure (or lack thereof) regarding your days spent at school.

Did you answer something like, “And they rode off into the sunset to live happily ever after”? A little cliched, perhaps, but you can’t argue with success.

Perhaps you envisioned a story in which your character dies in the end? It’s likely you greeted your graduation as a chance to be reborn into a new life.

Or was the ending a cliff-hanging “To be continued…”? In a way, that’s the most accurate response you could give. You’ll just have to wait and see how the next episode turns out.

***
My copy: hardbound, no dust jacket

My rating: 4/5 stars