The World of Playing Cards Logo

Taro Okamoto

The combination of shapes and colours in these playing cards creates a vibrant and eye-catching surreal effect.

Taro Okamoto Playing Cards, 1977

Japanese artist Taro Okamoto (1911-1996) was noted for his abstract and avant-garde paintings and sculpture. The combination of shapes and colours in these playing cards creates a vibrant and eye-catching surreal effect. One of Okamoto's famous works, Tower of the Sun, became the symbol of Expo '70 in Suita, Osaka, 1970. During the 1970s Okamoto was also working as a muralist and designer whilst continuing to create and exhibit new works. His mural "The Myth of Tomorrow" (2008) depicts a human figure being hit by an atomic bomb.

Taro Okamoto playing cards, 1977 Taro Okamoto playing cards, 1977

Above: Taro Okamoto playing cards, 1977. 52 cards + 2 Jokers in box. The artist's name 'Taro' appears on all the court cards.

Born in Tokyo, Taro Okamoto (1911-1996) was the eldest son of cartoonist Ippei Okamoto and the poet and novelist Kanoko Okamoto. In 1941 he was awarded the Japanese Nika Prize.

Okamoto served in the military from 1942-1946, returning to Tokyo to find many of his paintings burned in an air raid. In 1948, he began to explore the integration of avant-garde art and literature. One of Okamoto's famous works, Tower of the Sun, became the symbol of Expo '70 in Suita, Osaka, 1970. On November 17, 2008, his mural "The Myth of Tomorrow", depicting a human figure being hit by an atomic bomb, was unveiled in Tokyo.

Images courtesy Barney Townshend.

Illuminated capital 'J' by Kathryn Finter.

avatar

By Barney Townshend

Member since October 06, 2015

View Articles

Retired Airline Pilot, interested in: Transformation Playing Cards, Karl Gerich and Elaine Lewis. Secretary of the EPCS. Treasurer of the IPCS.


Leave a Reply

Recommended

Jeu de Tarot Pocket Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Jeu de Tarot Pocket Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Tarot game pack with fantasy sci-fi artwork on the trumps published by Pocket SF, France.

2020 Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards

Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards

Bosch Puzzle Playing Cards by Sunish Chabba, 2020.

2005 The Bristol Pack

The Bristol Pack

The Bristol Pack, an exhibition of playing cards designed by Bristol artists, 2005.

1980 Sanyo Ukiyo-E

Sanyo Ukiyo-E

Ukiyo-E deck for Sanyo Enterprise Co.

1895 National Gallery (Dutch School)

National Gallery (Dutch School)

National Gallery (Dutch School) published by J. Jaques & Son, c.1895.

1979 The Deck of Cards

The Deck of Cards

The Deck of Cards by Andrew Jones Art, 1979.

1996 Cosmopolitan № 2121 playing cards

Cosmopolitan № 2121 playing cards

“Cosmopolitan” № 2121 playing cards designed by Russian artist Valeri Mishin, 1996

Little Demons

Little Demons

“Little Demons” playing cards illustrated by Wayne Anderson, c.1970

2010 One Piece Hana Fuda

One Piece Hana Fuda

One Piece Hanafuda King card set published by Beverly Enterprises Inc, Tokyo, 2010

DRRR!!

DRRR!!

DRRR!!, short for Durarara!!, is an anime adaptation of a Japanese light novel written by Ryohgo Narita.

2015 Mos Burger

Mos Burger

Advertising deck for Mos Burger, one of the largest hamburger chains in Japan, 2015.

Car Game

Car Game

The Car Game with artwork by Barry Rowe, published by Pepys, c.1960.

2005 Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol

Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol

‘Naipe Criollo Caraí Pujol’ with Gaucho designs by Julio F. Parada Seifert capturing the spirit of Argentine country life, 2005.

2016 Dogs

Dogs

‘Dogs’ playing cards showcases 52 canine portraits in four suits as authors, artists, musicians and film stars, illustrated by Chet Phillips, 2016

1994 Teddy Bear Pack

Teddy Bear Pack

The Teddy Bear pack of playing cards created by Peter Wood, 1994

Cartes Comiques du Colonel Atthalin

Cartes Comiques du Colonel Atthalin

“Jeu de cartes comiques” transformation cards designed by Louis Atthalin (1784-1856) and published in 1817.

1988 Delta Playing Cards

Delta Playing Cards

Delta playing cards are a modern art concept deck invented by Professor M. R. Ali, an artist operating under the company name of “Artology International”.

2005 Under the Sea

Under the Sea

“Under the Sea” transformation playing cards, published in 2005 to raise money for the Marine Stewardship Council, an environmental charity which promotes sustainable fishing practices.

2004 Prime Arts

Prime Arts

Prime Arts Playing Cards were published in 2004 featuring the work of contemporary artists, illustrators and photographers.

1874 Thomas Walters Transformation

Thomas Walters Transformation

Hand-drawn transformation pack dated 1874 with the name Thomas Walters on the ace of spades.

1809 Vincenz Raimund Grüner 1809

Vincenz Raimund Grüner 1809

Transformation cards designed and engraved by Vincenz Raimund Grüner, Vienna, 1809

1979 Ainu culture

Ainu culture

A terrific deck of cards made by Nintendo c.1979 with original designs on every card showing the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan.

2004 Olivia’s Lucky Ladies

Olivia’s Lucky Ladies

“Olivia’s Lucky Ladies” glamour model playing cards produced by Ozone Productions Ltd, USA, 2004

2003 Nana Poker

Nana Poker

Every card carries a different cartoon image in the Manga style, expressing moods and emotions.

2009 Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty

Waddington’s “Hello Kitty” themed deck produced in 2009.

2013 Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty

“Hello Kitty” playing cards published by Sanrio, manufactured in China, 2013

Carl Arnold Transformation

Carl Arnold Transformation

Transformation playing cards designed by Carl Johann Arnold (1829-1916), the court artist for King Friedrich Wilhem IV of Prussia

1833 Bartlett Ackermann Transformation

Bartlett Ackermann Transformation

Pictorial playing cards published by C. Bartlett, New York, 1833.

1980 Roaring Twenties

Roaring Twenties

Roaring Twenties playing cards by Angel Playing Cards Co Ltd, Japan. 1980.

1980 Shapely

Shapely

“Shapely” non-standard adult playing cards manufactured by Angel Playing Cards Co., Japan, 1980

Black & White Whisky by Nintendo

Black & White Whisky by Nintendo

Whisky advertising playing cards manufactured by Nintendo Playing Cards Co Ltd for Dodwell & Co., 1960s.

1970 Akadama Honey Wine by Nintendo

Akadama Honey Wine by Nintendo

Suntory Akadama Honey Wine playing cards manufactured by Nintendo, Japan, c.1970.

Utamaro “Ukiyo-e” playing cards

Utamaro “Ukiyo-e” playing cards

Utamaro Ukiyo-e playing cards showing woodblock prints of beautiful women.

Hiroshige Ukiyo-e playing cards

Hiroshige Ukiyo-e playing cards

“Hiroshige” playing cards drawn by Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858) at 53 stopoffs on the journey from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto.

Japanese Women

Japanese Women

Japanese Women playing cards in an idealised and erotic style by Keiichi Takasawa (1914-1984).

Dragon Fanning Deck

Dragon Fanning Deck

This set of cards published by DP Group Ltd (Japan) allows the performer to create different fans

Krienser Fasnachts-Jass 1988

Krienser Fasnachts-Jass 1988

The Krienser Fasnachts-Jass deck was designed and published by Léon Schnyder from Kriens for the 1988 Fasnacht Carnival

Chamborama

Chamborama

This “Jeu de Familles” from the 1960s designed by Jean Bachès promotes Chambord glassware.

Cotta Transformation playing cards

Cotta Transformation playing cards

In 1804, J.C. Cotta, a publisher and bookseller in Tübingen, Germany, produced the first set of transformation cards that was published as an actual deck of playing cards.

Nintendo Mario Playing Cards

Nintendo Mario Playing Cards

Special cartoon playing cards designed to accompany Nintendo's Mario series of computer games.