Pre-WW2 Nintendo Hanafuda (花札) – cards and gambling kit

This is my oldest Nintendo item, a set of original Nintendo Hanafuda. There is no way to tell the exact date of manufacture, but it is in the pre-war wooden packaging, in fact the seller said the kit was purchased ‘pre-war’. However given the superb condition and the direction of the kanji script, they are from quite late in that prescribed period.

The set is contained in an unassuming wooden box.

In which fit the gambling paraphernalia and cards.

I have no idea if the the non-card items are Nintendo made, but the kit is clearly built around the box of Nintendo cards and it all fits together very neatly.

Various chips for gambling.

Under the main card box is a tray of other gambling related items.

The card with the woman on it says 百本 or something like ‘a hundred points’.

The small Hanafuda box itself is where we can see the original Nintendo branding.

任天堂 – Nin Ten Do – in the original kanji logo.

The lid lifts off to reveal the beautiful Hanafuda (花札) – literally ‘flower cards’.

The cards themselves are quite beautiful and well made.

These three cards are branded. The left card has the Nintendo Playing Card logo, and the middle is branded with 任天堂 Nin Ten Do, left to right (which as a clear sign it produced around the war period as this was when the orientation changed from right to left officially).

You can see the matching logo on the plaques at Nintendo’s old HQ in Kyoto.

The same logo is on the door on the right!

The whole kit.


9 thoughts on “Pre-WW2 Nintendo Hanafuda (花札) – cards and gambling kit

  1. Samuel Bouic (@SamuelBouic) August 19, 2020 / 10:03 pm

    Hi, do you have more details about this box since you posted about it? I have a similar box, although slightly different (contains 2 sets of Hanafuda cards, 6 baskets etc.). I would like to know if Nintendo produced the whole box or only the cards 🙂 please feel free to contact me via Twitter


  2. Jenny November 2, 2020 / 11:52 am

    I also have a set of 2 hanafuda decks which I bought in a surplus shop. They look very old and rare. Please email me so I can send you pics. I’m dying to know more about the item I got.


  3. Lynne Hearne September 30, 2021 / 4:54 am

    I have a very similar kit in a blue velvet case. It also has little round heads that the eyes pop out of. I want to sell it but have no idea of the value. Could you help me?


    • Glen Attewell July 15, 2022 / 3:39 am

      Hi is your set still up for sale?


      • Lynne Hearne July 15, 2022 / 11:51 am

        Yes, but have no idea what a far price would be.


        • Glen Attewell July 18, 2022 / 11:41 pm

          It depends on its age , do you have any photos? , the yellow paulownia card has a makers mark


        • Lynne Hearne July 19, 2022 / 5:41 am

          Hi Glen, I am having some health issues right now so an’t get any pictures till I get better.. I will be in touch. Thank you.


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