Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Wild Boar in Bush Clover

Zombie by T-Shirts Trinity





미녀맞고수사대 X-mas

Korean Go-stop on the go!

Forever in Blue Jeans: Zen by Kyoden

Forever in Blue Jeans!


Hanafuda suits in mural form

"Name the system"!

Lets hope that isn't a susuki field on Alderaan!

Hanafuda from n-neon

Great looking designs!




Friday, 20 January 2012

Mari Chan Hanafuda

I like but these are not really for the little ones.

Riu Dae-Young: Fly B to the Moon

'Strangely enough, no one boycott Hwatu on the ground that it is the vestige of Japanese Imperialism. It is a deep-seated play into our culture and society. Consequently we recognise that Hwatu is Korean play even it is foreign. At least an outlook on nature of Hwatu expresses twelvemonth and the four seasons of the year that transcends the bound of nationality'.

- Riu Dae-Young


VCL - Deer and Maple Art

'Poem, a gerunuk-morph belonging to Nepenthe. Because her hands are hooves she has very little manual dexterity, thus she wears metal hands - such as can be seen holding the card. She also collects Japanese Hanafuda cards, thus I have depicted her as the "deer". I knoe (sic) Gerenuk are not deer, but it was the closest to antelope'.

Wandering Genie Hanafuda Prints

Unusual take on Hanafuda. Cool but creepy!


Hanafuda for obscure Japanese band 'DokuRokuBi'.  The bands name translates as something like 'Skull-neck'.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Yuki Nakano Hanafuda Art

Yuki Nakano (Tokyo-born but now living in Brisbane, Australia) has produced twelve stunning Hanafuda themed pieces of art.  The above picture is of the November suit.  I like the use of water colours and the generally feminine look of her work.

For more info and pictures, click on the link below:

MATCHA 2009-10 Design Contest Submission

Poster design for the MATCHA programme at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, Ca.

Here are some notes from the designer (who I don't know the name of):

'I used Japanese old playing card "Hanafuda", as a motif of the design, replaced/added San Francisco/California symbols, California poppy, Golden Gate Bridge, Trans-America building, and the rainbow flag. The ward on the red paper is "Kiri-yoroshi" (Fog is good), in the original playing card it was "Aka-yoroshi" (Red is good).
Black border is also the style of the playing card'.

Keoki Surfboards

Hang Loose!

Cool looking board from Keoki of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Parish Cherry's Hanafuda

Another great looking deck! This one is by designer Parish Cherry.  I just love the image of the frog on the lily pad but feel that the design of that card loses something without the 'Rain-man'.  The Harvest Moon card is very evocative of a balmy summer's evening in the fields.

Kelsey Cretcher's Hanafuda

Here we have a deck of Hanafuda created by Kelsey Cretcher.  I really like the look of these cards.  The only thing I'd question from a design perspective is that both part of the 'Rain-man's' umbrella and the Crane's right wing appear on another card, which I don't think looks 'right'.  I do realise this is a by-product of the fact that each suit was developed in a panoramic fashion. Otherwise an excellent looking deck!

For more, please see...

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Genjuro Kibagami


Genjuro is a character in SNK’s Samurai Shodown (sic) series of weapons based video games set in 18th century Japan. He made his debut in Samurai Shodown II (released in 1994). Born of a prostitute, he became a skilled samurai killer for hire, he also loved to gamble by playing cards (as well as kill) and as the series showcased various aspects of Japanese culture, here he represented Hanafuda. 

Victory Poses

Genjuro's victory pose in Samurai Shodown 2 is where he opens his umbrella looking at a frog jumping on his right side.  Many players observe ‘Why does the frog follow Genjuro’? The answer is on the card ‘Yanagi ni Ono no Toufuu’ which is a card with a noble holding a green umbrella, looking at a jumping orange frog under the willow tree (Rain-man card). The answer comes from 'Samurai Spirits Q & A' of Shinseisha's SS Amakusakohrin Fan book which the answer was said by SNK staff :

- The frog and Genjuro first met under a willow tree.
- The frog has no name. Genjuro just calls it ‘O-Mae’ or ‘you’.
- For the frog, Genjuro is like its breath (sic)
- Genjuro seems not care about the frog, but while the frog hibernates in the winter, he would feel a little bit bored. 

Make of the above four sentences what you will! 

Genjuro's other victory pose shows him drinking Sake from a Sake cup and then throwing the cup away. Inside of the Sake cup there is a black Chinese character which translates as ‘longevity’ like in the card ‘Kiku Ni Sakazuki’.

Ono no Toufuu or Ono no Michikaze (894-966), was a famous calligrapher from the Heian Period (794-1185) and also a grandson of courtier-poet, Ono no Takamura. He is one of the So-called ‘Sanseki’ (Three Brush Traces), along with ‘Fujiwara no Sukemasa’ and ‘Fujiwara no Yukinari’. ‘Toufuu’ is considered the founder of Japanese Style calligraphy.

Genjuro's stage

His stage is titled ‘Susuki field at Mikatagahara in Hazuki (August) (or more precisely Mikatahara, Diluvial upland on the eastern side of Lake Hamana, in Shizuoka Prefecture, Honshu). The background represents the card ‘Susuki Ni Tsuki’ (Harvest Moon Card). Sometimes, geese fly across the stage and this also represents the card ‘Susuki Ni Kari’.


Genjuro's Kimono has the picture of a card on its back. The picture is from the Hanafuda ‘Sakura No Tan’.

‘Miyoshino’ appears on the ‘Tanzaku’ (Ribbon): 'Mi’ is a term of respect and ‘Yoshino’ is a place name of Kyoto. Yoshino is the most famous place noted for cherry blossoms. Japanese Emperor (Tennou) had a villa there. Thus, ancient Japanese people called the place ‘Miyoshino’ out of respect for their Emperor. Incidentally, It is said in Ninja’s Technical terms, ‘cherry blossoms’ means ‘Yoshino’. 

Sword Name

Genjuro's sword's name is ‘Bioh-doku’ which means ‘Poison of the Plum Nightingale’. This name probably derives from the Hanafuda ‘Ume Ni Uguisu’.

Special Moves

A certain points of Genjuro's sword slashing moves, you will see various Hanafuda. Some of them are card combination sets found in Hanafuda games. The combination sets of hands are called ‘Yaku’. 


This doesn’t actually form a yaku but consists of a Junk, Ribbon and Bright of the Sakura suit, which coincide with his weak, medium and strong sword slashes.


The yaku shown in this slashing sequence is ‘Ino-shika-Cho’ (Boar-Deer-Butterflies).


The yaku shown here is ‘Tsukimi-zake’ (Moon viewing party).


The yaku shown during this move sequence is ‘Aka-tan’ (Red poetry strips).


The yaku here is ‘Ao-tan’ (Blue ribbons).


The ‘Gaji’ (Storm) card from the November suit is shown.

Uraohka Ayame

This is another one that doesn't actually make a yaku but is similar to 'Ohkazan' in its make-up.  Here we have a Junk, Ribbon and Animal card from the 'Ayame' (Iris) suit representing the weak, medium and strong slashes.


This shows the yaku of 'Sanko' (Three Brights) and here we see the January (Crane and Pine), December (Paulownia and Phoenix) and August (Moon and Pampas) 'Bright' cards.


The 'Rain-man' card of the November suit is featured - 'Yanagi Ni Ono No Toufuu'.


This move shows the cards which make 'Shiko' (Four Brights). 

Touha Koyokujin

This move does not have any Hanafuda in it but at the middle of the slash, there is a face which may be the face of Ono No Toufuu. 

Genjuro's Goko

When Genjuro gets angry, he can use his special move, ‘Gokohzan’ or ‘Uragokoh’. Now, when Genjuro starts his move and the opponent doesn't defend, the Hanafuda will be ‘Goko’ yaku (Five Brights). If the opponent defends, the cards that will appear will be different cards from the same suits that the five brights come from. These are all ‘Kasu’ or Trash/Junk cards of ‘Goko’.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

December: Priests Run

‘Shiwasu’ is the last of the old month names that is commonly used in modern Japan. Since the nation switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1873 the months are only known by a number - month-one, month-two, month-three etc. The end of the solar year and the beginning of the New Year is one of the most important holidays in Japan. It is a very exciting and busy time for everybody, especially the priests. Every new year Japanese visit the Shinto and Buddhist temples to get their blessings for the New Year. The last month of the year is marked by the rushing about of busy priests as they prepare for New Year's Day. If you are in Japan on New Year's Day it will seem like every person in Japan is at their local temple at the stroke of midnight. The Japanese look to the New Year as a chance to shake off all the burdens of the previous year and get a fresh start.

The Phoenix is the symbol of righteousness and often connected with the Empress. It is a representation of the mandate from heaven giving the Emperor the authority to rule. Legend says that only the ‘Kiri’ tree is beautiful enough for the Phoenix to land on.

December is represented by the ‘Kiri’ (Paulownia) plant. The Kiri is the official symbol of the Prime Minister of Japan and of the democratically elected system of government. This was the Mon of the Minamoto family, the originators of the Shogun title. ‘Minamoto’ was an honorary surname given to members of the Imperial family not in line for the throne. The name Minamoto is also sometimes referred to as ‘Genji’. The famous novel ‘The Tale of Genji’ is about the Minamoto. The Mon with three Paulownia leaves on the bottom and the blossoms on top numbering 5-7-5, was awarded by the Heian Emperor to Minamoto no Yoshiie (1039 - 1106). Lesser members of the Minamoto clan had a similar Mon with the flowers on top numbering 3-5-3. One of the requirements for becoming Shogun was to be from the Minamoto. In other words, the Shogun had to be a blood relative of the Emperor.

Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543 - 1616) was the last Shogun to rule Japan. The Tokugawa government held all the political and military power during the Edo period. The Emperor was just a figurehead in the capital of Kyoto. All important decisions were made in Edo. Tokugawa Ieyasu became Shogun by forging his ancestry to show that he was descended from the Minamoto. The Tokugawa government was always afraid of rebellion because of this. After 250 years the Emperor Meiji was finally able to regain power from the Tokugawa Shogunate.

At the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912) the Emperor Meiji took political control away from the Tokugawa. This was the beginning of modern Japan. He moved the capital from Kyoto to Edo and renamed it Tokyo (eastern capital). He gave political power to the lords and samurai that had helped restore the power of the Emperor. The Paulownia Mon is a symbol of democratic government legitimised by the Emperor, in the tradition of the Minamoto.