- This article focuses exclusively on Nintendo's Hanafuda cards. To find information on all of Nintendo's playing cards, see Nintendo playing cards.
Hanafuda(JP), which means "Flower cards" in English, are playing cards of Japanese origin that are used to play a variety of different games. Fusajiro Yamauchi had established Nintendo with the purpose of printing and selling Hanafuda cards.
Nintendo's Hanafuda cards became so well known across Japan that Nintendo eventually started to develop other classic Japanese and Western card games. Their experience in creating card games led them to the toy business and ultimately the video game industry. Today they still produce a few Hanafuda card decks including the popular Daitouryou variant, which features the portrait of Napoleon.
Playing cards were banned throughout all of Japan when the government deemed multiple aspects of Western culture illegal due to the surge in Christian missionaries from Europe. In order to get around this, the Japanese developed an alternative to playing cards called Hanafuda, which replaced numbers with the twelve months of the year. Despite the government eventually banning these as well, the Japanese played the game in secret. In the late 1800s, Japan finally lifted the ban on playing cards. Fusajiro Yamauchi, an avid Hanafuda player, was thrilled to finally be able to play his game legally and opened up a company that would distribute high quality cards. The company's name was Nintendo.
Nintendo developed many different hanafuda decks with each one featuring different designs. The most famous one of all is the Daitouryou deck, also known as the Napoleon deck, which featured an image of Napoleon's face on the cover. To this day Nintendo sells this deck, and apparently it is the most successful one on the market. Today each deck is made out of card and paper and are placed in a nicely made plastic storage box.
Nintendo's other well known deck is the Miyako No Hana Hanafuda Deck. It doesn't sport an image of a political ruler, but is rather more traditional. Today the cards come in black or red depending on the person's preference. This deck is also much cheaper than the Napoleon deck at around $15. Despite this it also comes in a plastic box.
In 2007, Nintendo released special Mario themed hanafuda cards through their Club Nintendo service. Once a person accumulated 400 points in Japan, they could get the Mario cards for free. The deck featured is supposed to reflect the Daitouryou deck Nintendo published way back, with even the characters on the cards posing in the same way as the people in the other cards did (such as Mario posing in exactly the same way Napoleon stood).
The characters that were featured in the hanafuda set included (from clockwise top right in the image): Bowser, Mario, Yoshi, Lakitu, Luigi and Waluigi, Paragoomba, Toadies, Boo, Donkey Kong, Wario, Blooper, Koopa Troopa, Peach and Toad, and Piranha Plant.
In December of 2008, Nintendo opened up Club Nintendo in North America. The Mario Hanafuda cards were available among many other prizes. It, along with Game & Watch Collection, were the most expensive products available at 800 points each.
- One of Nintendo's first video games "Super Mario Bros." pays tribute to Hanafuda with the Fire Flower & Piranha Plant.
- Nintendo has continued its historic tradition of Hanafuda in many card-based video games, like Arcana, Yu-gi-Oh! and Pokemon card games, and many more featured, some featured here .
- You can also find odes to it in non-card Action/Adventure titles like Super Mario Bros 3. Besides it's power-ups & iconic enemies, SMB 3 has a mini-game called Mario's Matching Game where you match up cards like coins, 1-up blocks, Starman, mushrooms, and yes, even flowers.
List of video games featuring Hanafuda
The following are a list of video games with Hanafuda in them.
- 1500DS Spirits Vol. 5: Hanafuda - Nintendo DS (Japan only)
- 64 Hanafuda: Tenshi no Yakusoku - Nintendo 64 (Japan only)
- at Enta! Taisen Hanafuda: Koi Koi Kassen - DSiWare (Japan only)
- Card Game 9 - Nintendo DS (Japan only)
- Chotto Asobi Taizen: Onajimi Table - DSiWare (Japan only)
- Clubhouse Games - Nintendo DS
- Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics - Nintendo Switch
- Gionbana - Super Famicom (Japan only)
- Hanafuda Ou - Super Famicom (Japan only)
- Hanafuda Trump Mahjong: Depachika Wayounaka - Game Boy Advance (Japan only)
- Honkaku Hanafuda GB - Game Boy Color (Japan only)
- Honke Hanafuda - Super Famicom (Japan only)
- Karan Koron Gakuen: Hanafuda - Mahjong - Game Boy Color (Japan only)
- Maido Hanafuda - Nintendo 3DS (Japan only)
- Minna no Hanafuda - Nintendo Switch (Japan only)
- Pocket Hanafuda - Game Boy Color (Japan only)
- Simple 2000 Series Wii Vol. 1: The Table Game - Wii (Japan only)
- Simple 2960 Tomodachi Series Vol. 1: The Table Game Collection - Game Boy Advance (Japan only)
- Simple DS Series Vol. 30: The Table Game - Nintendo DS (Japan only)
- Super Hanafuda - Super Famicom (Japan only)
- Super Hanafuda 2 - Super Famicom (Japan only)
- Table Game Dai-Shuugo!! Shogi Mahjong Hanafuda - Super Famicom (Japan only)
- Table Game Spirits - Nintendo DS (Japan only)
- Table Game Spirits 2 - Nintendo DS (Japan only)
- Table Game Spirits V - Nintendo DS (Japan only)
- Wi-Fi Taiou: Gensen Table Game DS - Nintendo DS (Japan only)
- Wi-Fi Taiou: Gensen Table Game Wii - Wii (Japan only)
- Bishoujo Hanafuda Club Vol. 1 : Oichokabu Hen - Famicom Disk System (Japan only)
- Bishoujo Hanafuda Club Vol. 2 : Koi Koi Bakappana Hen - Famicom Disk System (Japan only)
- Hanafuda Yuukyou Den: Nagarebana Oryuu - Famicom (Japan only)
- Hayama Reiko - Katsuragi Mayako no AV Hanafuda Club - Famicom (Japan only)
- In the Game Boy Camera accessory, one of pictures in the B-Album contains artwork from one of Nintendo's Hanafuda cards.
- In Samurai Shodown II, Samurai Shodown III, Samurai Shodown IV, Samurai Shodown Anthology and Samurai Shodown (2019), character Genjuro Kibagami performs special attacks which have direct visual references to Hanafuda cards.
- In Pikmin 2, a treasure named the Talisman of Life is actually a case of Hanafuda playing cards.
- In 2003, official Hanafuda themed keychains were given as a bonus in Japan with the release of GiFTPiA.
- The Japanese version of the Quite Puzzled microgame from WarioWare: Touched! features a Hanafuda card. A Hanafuda card matching microgame also appears in WarioWare Gold.
- Nintendo officially released Hanafuda themed faceplates for the Game Boy Micro. They were only made available on the Nintendo Online Store for 1000 yen.
- A Mario Hanafuda theme is available for the Nintendo 3DS. Also, hanafuda-themed faceplates for the New Nintendo 3DS were released on December 3, 2015.