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~~ Gallery 20 ~~
Regional Cards

Japan Korea

page 6
Cartoon Editions

part 1
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I thank Dana Kahana, Tadahiko Norieda and Mayumi Yoshimura for the help provided

The colourful Japanese cartoons are famous for their particular and sometimes highly refined design, which has recently gained popularity in many Western countries too.
Some of the oldest titles were born as newspaper strips, and later developed into television series, while more recent ones were created directly for the TV. The latter, known as anime (short for "animation") never replaced the printed ones (manga), which still are among the most cherished publications by comic magazine collectors and connoisseurs.

Besides the thousands of gadgets and paraphernalia featuring the most popular characters, recently also fancy hanafuda editions inspired by cartoon series began to appear. In all 48 cards, the characters featured either replace or interact with the traditional elements of the classic pattern; among them, sometimes also the mangaka (cartoonist) is found, as a caricature of him/herself.
The overall result is rather interesting, also due to a particularly accurate printing technique, which allows even the smallest detail to be sharp and perfectly readable, despite the usual small size of these cards.
In cartoon hanafuda editions, the cards do not have a paper lining, and each illustration is printed directly on the cardstock (actually, some kind of synthetic material).


this special edition is by Yanoman (Japan)

Peony's tane card
This is an edition whose name recalls that of the early "ghost cards" of Edo, a variant of Iroha Karuta, see the relevant gallery.
The modern Yôkai Hana Asobi ("ghost flower game") consists of 48 cards whose subjects are creepy personages from a TV series called Yôkai ("ghosts"), rather popular in Japan over the past decades. This special edition was produced by Yanoman to celebrate the 50th year of activity of Shigeru Mizuki, the cartoonist author of this series.

"Moon", the hikari card
of Eulalia

tane and kasu cards of Iris

the same subjects
from standard Hanafuda
In most kasu (trash) and tan (ribbon) cards, the cartoon is simply added to the standard graphic Hanafuda elements; in most tan and hikari (light) cards, instead, the main detail, which characterizes each subject, usually an animal, is replaced by the personage of the TV series. Furthermore, all tan and hikari cards have a coloured background, for an easier identification, whereas in classic Hanafuda only two subjects, "Moon" and Willow's only kasu, have a coloured background (red).
Each subject features a different goblin, except "Rain" (Willow's hikari card), in which cartoonist Shigeru Mizuki drew himself.

The backs are plain, as usual. Besides the classic black and red colours, the Yôkai deck has been also produced in fancy blue and green versions, though subjects do not change.

The games played with this deck, whose rules are suggested by the leaflet that comes with the box, are basically the same as the classic ones: to capture cards on the table by making matches, according to the families the subjects belong to, possibly forming special combinations.

Pine's hikari (featuring a crane
in standard decks) and tan cards

left: Willow's hikari ("Rain", note the cartoonist) and tane cards;
right: Paulownia's hikari ("Phoenix", in this version a kind of spider) and kasu cards


this special edition is by Jinrui-Bunkasha (Japan)

hikari and kasu cards from Pine
A similar fancy edition is the Tensai Hana Asobi, featuring colourful characters from the series called Tensai Bakabon ("genius-idiot"), a cartoon about a family of blockheads with a very brilliant son.
The author, Fujio Akatsuka, is known as "the father of comedy manga", having created also several other series, such as Himitsu no Akko-chan ("Akko of Secrets"), and Osomatsu-kun ("Young Osomatsu"), all very popular in Japan, whose personages in fact appear in some of the cards of this deck.

the curtain, from Cherry, featuring Osomatsu
As in the previous "ghost flower game", also in this edition the most valuable card of each suit (either hikari or tane) has a coloured background. The cartoonist chose to appear among his characters in the tane card of Chrysanthemum: he is the man gaily drinking from the traditional sake cup, although his bottle says ..."whisky"!

hikari and tane cards
from Eulalia

"Rain" and "Phoenix", hikari cards
from Willow and Paulownia

tane cards from Peony and Chrysanthemum:
Akko (left) and cartoonist Fujio Akatsuka

kasu cards from Maple


this special edition is by Banpresto (Japan)

A third cartoon edition is the one inspired by a recent series called Inu-Yasha, set in the late mediaeval atmosphere of Japan's age of warlords (Sengoku period, 15th-16th centuries). During these years, illustrated novels written for the common people, called o-Togi Zôshi (more or less "entertainment papers") began to appear, and the cartoon's adventures pretend to belong to these old fictional stories, to which the subtitle of the series, Sengoku o-Togi Zôshi, clearly refers to.
The main character is Inu-Yasha (literally "dog-demon"), partly human and partly animal, featured in several subjects of the deck.

hikari and tan cards from Pine

"curtain", hikari card
from Cherry
The other important character, Kagome, is a contemporary teenage girl who, following an accident, has travelled back in time. She and Inu-Yasha are featured together in the hikari card of Cherry ("curtain").
Most of the remaining characters are fighters, warriors, and the like.
The original name of this edition, Inu-Yasha Hana-Awase (literally "Inu-Yasha flower matching"), is reminiscent of the early matching card games, such as Uta-Awase, E-Awase, Tori-Awase, etc., but the rules basically follow the standard Hanafuda ones, including the traditional yaku (special scoring combinations).

"moon", hikari card
from Eulalia
This series is drawn by a woman, mangaka Rumiko Takahashi, whose many other titles include some well-known hits in most Western countries, such as Urusei Yatsura, Ranma ½, Maison Ikkoku, and others.
This time, though, the cartoonist is not featured in any of the 48 subjects.

The same chromatic scheme found in the previous cartoon editions (i.e. a coloured background for the highest card in rank of each family, either hikari or tane) is also followed by the Inu-Yasha deck.
The backs of these cards are red.

"rain", hikari card
from Willow

kasu cards from Plum and Peony

"phoenix" hikari card and a kasu card from Paulownia


this special edition is by Bandai (Japan)

sample subjects and personages from this edition;
the first card of the bottom row says "the four emperors"
This rather bizzarre edition, issued in 2002, was inspired by a series called Sakigake!! Kuromachi-kk ("Pioneers!! Kuromachi high-school").
Most personages are fierce-looking gangsters but, quite surprisingly, one of the main characters of the series is called Freddie, and his lineaments undoubtly refer to the famous rockstar Freddie Mercury, featured in five subjects of the deck, in various attitudes and clothing, including one labelled ..."pajama" (see the first card on the left in the row below). But among others, also the group of four personages called shi tenn ("the four emperors"), with painted faces, look very much like the members of the Kiss (a rock group popular in the early 1980s).

the five "Freddie" cards of the set
This edition includes an extra card, or kirifuda, to be used as a joker. It features an Andy Wharol-like composition of twelve cans (one for each family or month), labelled as "super cans".

cartoon editions continue in
part 2

other pages in this gallery
page 1
historical and
general notes
page 2
page 3

page 4
page 5
page 7
page 8
page 9

page 10


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