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Kimono Blog &  Events

Private Collection: Antique Karuta Set

Our extensive private Japanese kimono collection includes a few other rare Japanese antiques. Included in our private antique collection is a selection of antique block print books, hand painted antique sumi-e wall scrolls, miniature suits of Samurai armor, and more. Recently we had one of our more unique antique collectibles reviewed, and discovered some very interesting things as a result.

Within our collection of Japanese antiques is a playing card game known as Karuta. Our game is complete with 200 of the unique original cards, all of which are unique. The objective of the game is to assemble poems with the cards. Karuta is a fairly popular game in Japan, and even still today there are competitive tournaments hosted centered around this game. If you would like to learn more about the history of Karuta and the variations of the game, and how they are played check out the Karuta wiki page: That being said, our antique set has a bit of history. Upon opening the box and looking on the inside lid there is some hand writing. The hand writing on the inside of this box contains key information about the set. The writing translated to english tells us more about the set. The sets owner was Fukuda Yoshiko 福田代志子. She was given the set for the New Year in Taishō 13th year, 1924, 大正十三年正月 Taishō jyusan'nen shōgatsu (January). She lived in the Ikegami district of Tokyo, with the address, 東京府池上町堤方九〇六 Tokyo-fu (before Tokyo became "to 都") Ikegami-cho Tutsumi-kata 906.

The playing cards themselves feature the works of the famous 100 poets, as selected in the 13th century. Check out this website if you would like to see the translations of these poems and learn more: Here are a few photos of our antique set. The images used on the cards are most likely block print, and are styles that have been used for quiet sometime. Princeton University has in their collection a similar antique set, though it is much older. You can see their antique set here:

Maybe in the future we will host a Karuta tournament at a convention or festival.

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