Every set exists in 2 colors : black & red ( ocher )
From top to bottom :
Daitoryo ( Napoleon ) ( “daitoryou” means “president” in Japanese )
Tengu ( the Tengu is a long nose supernatural being )
Miyako no Hana ( ” miyako ” means ” the capital ” and “hana” means ” flower(s)” )
The Miyako no Hana sets are cheaper than the others ( about 30 % cheaper, usually ) because the quality of the paper used for the cards is not as high. ( they look and feel exactly the same though, maybe they don’t last as long … )
There is also a Kabufuda set ( at the bottom of the photo ), in black only, the box looks almost the same as the Hanafuda Daitoryo but for the small white pastille on the front with the 2 kanji : kabu-fuda one above the other ( see photo ).
The hanafuda cards date back from the late 18 th century, before contact with the Europeans, cards games were known to the nobility as a sophisticated pastime but ignored by the people. The Portuguese introduced the 48 cards hombre deck
that was soon widely used for gambling and banned by the Shogunate, as were many following Japanese decks, in a cat and mouse game between the authorities and the gamblers. The hanafuda cards got no numeric values, only pictures and thus escaped an official ban but were not specially popular until Nintendo was founded with the purpose of making hanafuda cards in 1889. Gambling was still banned and hanafuda cards that were mainly used for this purpose gained a strong association with the Yakuza gangs that run illegal gambling parlors.
The Yakuza have tattos based on hanafuda designs, even today, the cards are strongly associated with the underworld and that deters many respectable Japanese from playing with them.
Kabufuda are traditional Japanese cards derived from European cards brought to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century that were quickly banned by the shogunate because they were used mainly for gambling. So the gamblers played a cat and mouse game with the authorities, inventing new decks that were soon banned until hanafuda appeared in the 18th century ( hanafuda cards have no numeric values so they escaped being banned but were ultimately used also by gamblers ) I don’t know exactly what place kabufuda have in the line of decks invented to escape the gambling ban but they survived until today and are still manufactured, mainly by Nintendo.
A deck of kabufuda cards have 40 cards numbered from 1 to 10, not suited, so there are 4 cards for each value ( in the set made by Nintendo there is 1 extra card, a Jack, that is usually not used )
Kabufuda cards are typically used for gambling games, like Oicho-Kabu, that is similar to Baccarat,
the goal being to reach 9 points.
The worst hand in Oicho-Kabu : 8-9-3 is phonetically expressed as ya-ku-za and is the origin of
the name of the Japanese gangsters who were the ones running the gambling dens in the days.
The Nintendo set bears the image of Napoleon ( along with the two ” Daitoryo ” hanafuda decks,
black & red ).