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Hanafuda Flower Cards

Japanese Hanafuda Flower Cards

Hawaii Hanafuda – Sakura

Hanafuda; Sakura; Hawaii-style Koi-Koi

Hanafuda are playing cards of Japanese origin. The name Hanafuda literally translates as “flower cards”.


A traditional Hanafuda deck has 48 cards divided into 12 suits, one for each month. Each month is signified by a different type of blossoming flower and have a distinct Japanese design.

Hanafuda cards are approximately 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size. Half the size of traditional american playing cards, but are of very heavy stock, thicker than a credit card. There are many types of games than can be played with hanafuda cards. Each similar to matching suits, but with different strategies and styles.

Card games played with a standard numbered deck were banned throughout Japan as the government deemed multiple aspects of Western culture illegal. Japanese people developed an alternative to playing cards called Hanafuda; they played in secret.

When the card game ban was lifted in the late 1800’s an avid hanafuda player named Fusajiro Yamauchi, was thrilled to be able to play the game legally. In 1889 he stared up a company that would print & distribute high quality hanafuda cards. That company’s name was Nintendo.

Hawaii Hanafuda – Sakura

Japanese immigrants brought Hanafuda to Hawaii around the beginning of the 20th century. In Hawaii, the game was shared across many different cultures and nationalities on the islands. Plantation workers and neighbors would come together for a game of cards. Over time, Hawaii developed its own style of Hanafuda game called Hawaii-style Koi-Koi, also known as Sakura.

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