XEI Shop “Komatsufuda” Playing Cards Coming Soon!

I should probably be sleeping–but I couldn’t stop creating these once I started! New deck in queue for printing.

These are based on the abstract designed, mekuri karuta–a 16th century Komatsufuda deck, which is a Japanese 48-card deck (no 10s) inspired by the original Portuguese imported decks, which were banned by the Tokugawa shogunate in the 17th century. I’ve created the 10 card so they work as standard 52-card decks.



The first indigenous Japanese deck was the Tenshō karuta named after the Tenshō period (1573-1592). It was a 48 card deck with the 10s missing like Portuguese decks from that period. It kept the four Latin suits of cups, coins, clubs, and swords along with the three face cards of female knave, knight, and king. In 1633, the Tokugawa shogunate banned these cards, forcing Japanese manufacturers to radically redesign their cards. As a result of Japan’s isolationist Sakoku policy, karuta would develop separately from the rest of the world. In order to hide the proscription of Portuguese derived cards, makers turned the cards into very abstract designs known as mekuri karuta. By the mid-20th century, all mekuri karuta fell into oblivion with the exception of Komatsufuda (Japanese: 小松札) which is used to play Kakkuri, a matching game found in Yafune, Fukui prefecture.