A post I made a few days ago noted that the character '鬼' (demon, devil, ghost, ogre) in Japan is used to designate the person in the game of 'Tag' who is called 'It' in the US.
It's a similar usage, isn't it? Calling that player 'It' or 'Demon' dehumanizes the person who does the tagging, whom everyone else flees from, whose touch is abhorred. They become 'the other'.
Am I making too much of this? It's just a kid's game, right? 'Dehumanizing', indeed!
But it's curious that the concept is the same across two different cultures. And adult culture, too, has 'its' and 'demons', doesn't it? People who are seen as less than human. Whose touch is abhorred. Lepers. Untouchables. Burakumin. [Fill in your own Other here; there is no shortage of them.] Is there any human culture without at least one Other?
In this light the game of Tag begins to seem less innocent. Like adorable kittens 'playing' with balls of yarn, who are actually practicing their hunting skills for the day they will hunt, kill, and eat mice and birds, children playing Tag are being instructed in how all human groups are composed of Us and Them, and how you must never let one of Them touch you, or you will be polluted. They are not human. They are referred to as 'it'. Maybe They're an ogre.
騎馬 == kiba ==
|Left radical is 'horse' (馬). Right radical is 'strange' (奇), which acts phonetically to express 'straddle'. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Rider on a strange horse.'|