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Mainichi Hanafuda Challenji!

I've decided to take on the challenge of illustrating a full deck of Japanese Hanafuda playing cards. My goal is to draw one card per day, and as long as Blogger's software cooperates, I will be posting a new card here every day for you to see.

The first card I drew is from the February, or plum suit, with a ribbon "poem". The text isn't really a poem at all, though. Supposedly it's meant to read "akayoroshii" which means something like "red is good!" However, on all the cards I've seen, the character that should be "ka" for this reading looks like nothing so much as "no." The "yo-ru" are stylised and flow together. Maybe one of my Japanese readers has additional insight on this mystery?

Blogger's image uploading is broken for me, so I'm using Flickr for images now. I hope that works for everyone. Blogger willing, I'll post another card, and more fun facts about Hanafuda cards, tomorrow.

7 comments:

ab said...

i like your card

The Goodfellas said...

so.... the yakuza are the main people who play a game called "flower-matching"???

ps. i like your design :)

sui generis said...

Thanks, Mapache and Abs. It's true, hanafuda cards are played by gangsters. 47 more cards to go!

drvono said...

This was not the project announcement I was expecting, but very cool!

eireann said...

I think it reads 'yoroshi'? not 'yorushi,' if I'm reading it correctly. (That would support your reading of 'good,' if there were a long vowel [ii] at the end.) I think akayoroshi comes from akiraka ni yoi/yoroshii, which means 'clearly better' (akira=明).

sui generis said...

Very perceptive of you, Eireann! I actually made a typo there in my original English post (but not in my Japanese on the card banner, luckily). The meaning is discussed further on this page (scroll to the bottom).

asmodai said...

Just to help future generations:

that is not a 'no' (の), but rather a hentaigana 'ka' which resembles a 'no' but has another stroke above it, like 'u' (う) has.