There are 48 cards in a hanafuda deck, organized in 12 suits of 4 cards each. Each suit corresponds to a month of the year. There are 4 kinds of card: 'lights' worth 20 points, 'animals' worth 10 points (also including the sake cup and bridge cards), 'poetry slips' worth 5 points, and 'dregs' worth 1 point. There are 5 lights, 9 animals, 10 slips, and 24 dregs in one deck.

Each suit generally consists of 1 light or animal card, 1 poetry slip, and 2 dregs. Listed below are the cards in each suit, their point values, the names I use for them, and any information on their meaning that I have. The point values listed are not used by some games, but are still useful for categorizing the cards.


January
-
Pine
20 points
5 points
1 point
1 point
"Crane"
Slip
Dregs
Dregs

Note:
The above poetry slip reads 'akayoroshi', a phrase the meaning of which is unknown

February
-
Plum
~
10 points
5 points
1 point
1 point
"Nightingale"
Slip
Dregs
Dregs

March
-
Sakura
20 points
5 points
1 point
1 point
"Curtain"
Slip
Dregs
Dregs

Note:
The above poetry slip reads 'miyoshino', the name of a town in Nara known for its sakura

April
-
Wisteria
10 points
5 points
1 point
1 point
"Cuckoo"
Slip
Dregs
Dregs

May
-
Iris
Ҋ
10 points
5 points
1 point
1 point
"Bridge"
Slip
Dregs
Dregs

June
-
Peony
O
10 points
5 points
1 point
1 point
"Butterflies"
Slip
Dregs
Dregs

July
-
Clover
10 points
5 points
1 point
1 point
"Boar"
Slip
Dregs
Dregs

August
-
Pampas
20 points
10 points
1 point
1 point
"Moon"
"Geese"
Dregs
Dregs

September
-
Chrysanthemum
e
10 points
5 points
1 point
1 point
"Sake Cup"
Slip
Dregs
Dregs

Note:
The sake cup can also be used as a 1 point 'dregs' card.

October
-
Maple
gt
10 points
5 points
1 point
1 point
"Deer"
Slip
Dregs
Dregs

November
-
Willow
20 points
10 points
5 points
1 point
"Rain"
"Swallow"
Slip
Lightning

Note:
The 'rain' card portrays a story about a Heian Era calligrapher named Ono no Michigaze (commonly called 'Ono no Tofu'). As a young man he was walking in the rain and saw a frog attempting to eat an insect in a willow tree. Watching the frog fail again and again before ultimately succeeding he learned the value of perseverence.

Note:
The Lightning card (also known as "the oni") is commonly used as a wild card.

December
-
Paulownia
20 points
1 point
1 point
1 point
"Phoenix"
Dregs
Dregs
Dregs

Note:
The December dregs cards are often used for trademark information, much as how jokers are commonly used in a Western deck of playing cards.

Kabufuda cards are one of the many regional sets of cards based on European playing cards that became popular in Japan after the Tokugawa shogunate banned the importation of the European originals. 'Kabu' means 9, after the target number in all kabufuda games.

There are 40 cards in a kabufuda deck. The cards themselves are simple, consisting of the numbers 1 to 10. There are 4 of each card in a deck. There are no suits, but there are two cards with special markings. None of the games I have seen make any special use of these cards.

Hanafuda cards can be substituted for kabufuda cards by discarding the November and December cards and using the number of the months.


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