In 1889, Fusajirô Yamauchi began manufacturing “Hanafuda” or “flower cards” under the brand name Nintendo Koppai. Cards were hand crafted using the bark from mulberry and mitsu-mata trees. Around 1902 the firm began producing Western style playing cards.
A terrific deck of cards made by Nintendo c.1979 with original designs on every card showing the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan.
Suntory Akadama Honey Wine playing cards manufactured by Nintendo, Japan, c.1970.
After Mekuri games such as Unsun Karuta and Tenshô Karuta were banned by the authorities, especially if played with foreign cards, their appearance was disguised.
Whisky advertising playing cards manufactured by Nintendo Playing Cards Co Ltd for Dodwell & Co., 1960s.
Standard international pattern playing cards made in occupied Japan, c.1950.
Ethiopian Air Lines playing cards designed by Melles Habtezghi with courts wearing regional costumes, c.1969.
Colourful advertising pack for Fujitsu Limited, reminiscent of the flower power/psychedelic era.
Glico Almond Chocolate playing cards with designs by Izumi Tamai, produced by Nintendo, Japan.
The name means “Black cards”, which is especially true of you look at the suit of batons. The horse's legs can be recognised on the Cavaliers.
Japanese playing cards include: 'Awase' or 'matching pairs' cards and Portuguese or Spanish-derived 'Dragon' type cards.
Kyoto Souvenir playing cards by Nintendo aimed at the up and coming tourist industry, 1950s.