The name means “Black cards”, which is especially true if you look at the suit of batons. Whilst the designs may appear incomprehensible at first, resemblance to their 16th century Spanish/Portuguese originals is evident. The horse's legs can be recognised on the Cavalier in the top row. The swords retain some recognisable form, handles, etc. The cups are more bulbous and round than those of Akahachi. Unlike Akahachi, the large blobs of colour on the cards are actually applied over printed outlines, which are visible if you look hard at them and in some blank spots. The blobs on each card are of a unique shape and so, presumably, this feature is used by players to identify them.
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.
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.
Tensho Mekuri cards hand-made by Patricia Kirk, 2003