Nishijin Pachinko is a particular brand of pachinko machine made by the Japanese manufacturer Nishijin.
Nishijin are one of the largest Pachinko machine manufacturers. (Nishijin, incidentally, is a district in Kyoto, which is well-known for its sophisticated traditional textile products.)
Vintage Nishijin pachinko machines
Vintage Nishijin pachinko machines date back to the 1960’s and 70’s. At that time a lot of pachinko machines were sold by the Japanese Pachinko parlors where they were first used and exported to the United States. So despite their Japanese origins there are a fair number of them around in the States.
The vintage machines operate mechanically (gravity powered), except for the lights. Because Japan used a different type of power supply to the US, the importers of machines in the 60s and 70s would usually remove the power supply components from the machines before shipping. This meant that the lights on the game board no longer worked. But since the rest of the machine required no power they were still perfectly playable.
These days vintage Pachinko machines are gaining popularity as collector’s items and you’ll often see them coming up on ebay. You’ll also find parts are available online via ebay or online shops.
You’ll see lots of different models and designs, for instance we’ve seen for sale:
- Nishijin Deluxe
- Nishijin Super Deluxe
- Nishijin Nonrecycler
- Nishijin Pilfin
- Nishijin’s Sophia
- Nishijin 7 & 14 theme
- Nishijin No More Wars
They are around 33’’ high by 20’’ wide by 4” deep, and need to be positioned vertically at a suitable height for playing. Some companies make cases they can be mounted in if you just want to display them. They should preferably still have the original Japanese labels, and come with a decent amount of the original pachinko balls – though often these are lost.
Vintage Nishijin Pachinko machines generally sell for around $50-$100 on ebay (though you’ll have to pay to transport them as well – and they’re pretty heavy so that could cost quite a bit).
The oldest machines in the best condition are much more valuable. A few older models are said to have fetched anything up to $167,000 US dollars. There are even rumours of one 1975 Nishijin machine selling for £58,000 at a Lloyds auction in the UK. These very valuable machines are very much the exception though.
Restoring Vintage Pachinko Machines
Despite the simplicity of the game, the mechanics and parts within the machine are actually quite complex, and maintenance was a fiddly and time consuming business, so often they were left unserviced and fell into disrepair. This means that the vintage machines now floating around are very often in need of a great deal of patient attention before they can be played – if indeed they can ever be brought back to a usable state. You may also need to replace the power system for the lights if you wanted them to operate as they originally did.
For an interesting account of one collector’s loving restoration of a vintage Nishijin Pachinko machine take a look at Chronicles of a Pachinko Machine Restoration http://www.classicplastic.net/dvgi/special-pachinko.html. It’s a detailed and really useful diary of a year long project with some excellent clear pictures and explanations of the process this guy went through.
Modern Nishijin Pachinko Machines
From 1999 a new wave of Nishijin machines went on the market. These modern, digital Pachinko machines are what you find now in parlors around Japan and have color video displays with amazing animated themes, automatic ball reload and automatic push-button ball fire. Like most modern Pachinko machines they generally include a bonus game that is triggered by the balls falling into the correct hopper. This gives you the chance of a big jackpot win. The modern games have names such as Syunkasyuto, Pachimpic, Kikaida vs Hakaida, Jackie Chan, Crazy Monsters and Red Lions. If you’re interested, here’s a site with a long list of models
Nishijin Pachinko Video and PC Games
As an alternative to the actual Pachinko machines you can also buy PC and video games based on Nishijin Pachinko, some dating back to the 1990s. This is a list of the various game names we’ve come across:
- KSS/Nishijin 1995: Nishijin Pachinko
- Super Famicom 1996: Nishijin Pachinko Story
- Super Nintendo : Nishijin Pachinko Monogatari
- Super Nintendo : Nishijin Pachinko 2 Monogatari
- Super Nintendo : Nishijin Pachinko 3 Monogatari
- Nishijin Pachinko Monogatari 2.7z
- Nishijin Pachinko Monogatari 3.7z
- Nishijin Pachinko Monogatari.7z
- PSX games Tengoku EX – Nishijin Pachinko
- PSX games Nishijin Pachinko Tengoku Vol.1
- PSX games Nishijin Pachinko Tengoku Vol.2
- PSX games Nishijin Pachinko Tengoku Vol.3
- Tettel Kouryaku: Nishijin Pachinko