Magical, Mystical Monday: A Photography Challenge

Hey-lo, friends. Hope you are doing well and you’re ready for this fine Fall week (if you’re in the Northern hemisphere).Cards_wide

I’ve got a challenge and a mystery I’d like your help with, if you please.

This one’s a photo challenge. I picked these cards up at a yard sale at the beginning of the summer, falling in love with their aesthetics more than anything.

The seller said they’re Japanese, World War II era. I think the writing, though I’m obviously no expert, is Chinese.

Any of you like to share with me what these are (they’re all black on the back) and, in the main, what they’re used for? I’m not selling them, by the way.

I picked out several I thought looked very autumnal and that I adore besides.


The box they came in; probably a better clue to those of you who can read the script. Although I believe I’ve placed the white part upside down. Sorry about that!

Your reward? Propagating knowledge! That is to say, many thanks in advance for your guesses or facts.Cards_close-up



12 thoughts on “Magical, Mystical Monday: A Photography Challenge

    • Very possibly, Andy. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but they’re on a child’s piano, so these cards are pretty small. About the width of two sticks of gum and slightly shorter than that, top to bottom. Can Tarot cards be that small (I’ve no idea)? It’s an intriguing possibility.

  1. It’s Japanese. The coloured front of the box is Katakana I think, that is the script most used for foreign words. The majority appears to be in Kanji, which is closest to Chinese script. I hope that helps.

  2. Think they may possibly be Japanese Hanafada which I think means flower cards but not sure. Think 2nd from left at top is something like November. Think yellow and black one bottom left may be something to do with December, but not really sure

    • Thank you so much, Zteve. Any information is very useful. I could see them being called flower cards, and they (to an untrained eye such as mine) do look seasonal. Hope all is well with you!

    • Hey, Hugh. Glad to see you back! No, there are probably 30-40 cards in the pack. I can count exact number if that would be helpful. They are smallish (smaller than I think of tarot cards being, but that means nothing!), about the size of a stick and a half of gum wide and probably a couple inches tall. Black back, something like cardstock or other heavy paper. They’re beautiful, to my eye anyway, and I’d like to know their provenance just to know it. Hope you are having a jolly good week so far!

      • The only other suggestion I have is that they are some kind of playing cards. I suggest a visit to the Antiques Roadshow if it is ever in your area. Otherwise, an antiques fair may hold the answer for you. I hope you find out what they are and let us all know.

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