Dressed in camouflage fatigues and sweating in the summer heat, Kento Atari and his comrades sneak through the woods trying to outfox their enemies in a mock military exercise.

"I've been hit," yells one, emerging with hands held high.

The young Japanese, armed not with real weapons but air guns that shoot plastic pellets, are devotees of survival games, which are increasingly popular in a land whose soldiers have not gone into battle since Japan's defeat in World War II.