All the board games I have ever seen in Japan are variations of chess - strategy.
Scrabble is my favorite board game.
Despite being a self-proclaimed wordsmith, aviationhistorysmith and a sexsmith, I was a late bloomer in all three categories.
I actually flunked Grade 12 English back in the days when the Province of Ontario, Canada (and the Province of Manitoba) both had a Grade 13.
Yes, it is true I am completely useless in describing grammatical parts of a sentence, but I did/do know how to read, write and speak English more effectively than the average North American. I blame it on non-school, edumacational books. The more you read, the more you git stuck upin yer noggin bits.
I can't recall why, but it may have been because I hated poetry and used to skip classes a lot... oh yeah... and never did my homework. I may also have been picked on back then. Okay... no "may also have" - I was bullied.
While I haven't played Scrabble in about two years, which isn't a sly way of saying anything non-sexual, I had only then learned to use one tile to create multiple words to join them up.
While the points aren't always a huge matter, it tends to block things up like cheese in my gut, making it more difficult for my opponent (wife) to make her play. Her big play is to use all seven tiles at the start of the match... while mine is to kill with smaller words with higher value tiles.
I used to play Scrabble against Ashley in Japan. I don't know if she let me win, but she usually won and won big. But I got smarter.
So.... is there a Japanese version of Scrabble?
Yes, and no.
Yes... there's the 1955 version of the Japanese manufactured (and sold in Japan) version pictured above... but the tiles all contain the alphabet.
No... there is no board game version of Scrabble in Japan using the hiragana or katakana alphabets (there are three alphabets--including kanji--that Japan uses, because just one would never do to make the language hard enough).
Despite the image below and at the very top, the hiragana Japanese Scrabble game does not exist... except in the imagination of someone trying so damn hard to be cool (an succeeding) in the nerdy way.
I wonder if a hiragana version might be popular enough to catch on in Japan?
At least this time, there are no allusions to me actually ever winning a game.
PS: The image at the very top spells out Scrabble in Japanese - as does the image in the middle - in two Japanese alphabets.