It's been a long time coming but we're finally getting there.
In 2010 I illustrated my own Hanafuda deck, as a challenge to myself for a free project my Sophmore year of college. I loved what I had created but my classmates were hung up on not knowing what Hanafuda was, and honestly my crit was a bit of a flop. It wasn't the art's fault, this my teachers made clear to me. My classmates (and my teachers) had never heard of Hanafuda, so they didn't even understand my challenge. Luckily my teachers loved what I had done and didn't let me get discouraged.
This response is part of what encouraged me to pursue this in the first place. When I first discovered Hanafuda I wanted more of it. Here was this beautiful, illustrative deck where the illustrations were literally the most important part of the card, not only were they beautiful but they could be used to play many games! Western playing cards have thousands of illustrated variants, and I assumed it was the same with Hanafuda. But I was wrong. In 2010 I couldn't find any versions whatsoever, other than slightly tweaked variants of the original illustrations.
This immediately inspired me. I've always had a passion for modern application of vintage concepts, motifs, etc. My art pursues what I call a Retro Mod aesthetic. Japan has always been a major inspiration because I feel, as a culture, they have embraced this completely. They hold their past in every aspect of their present. I love seeing the influence of their traditional art and craft play a role in modern fashion, art, sculpture etc. I think it's beautiful. In my research of Hanafuda, I realized that while not known as well as western playing cards, these cards have become ingrained in families around the world. People I talked to always spoke of the memories of playing the games with their grandparents and families, on trips and at reunions. It's a game that ignites nostalgia. This beautiful staple of playing card and Japanese history deserves to continue to be beautiful memories. I want to share these cards with everyone I can, and I want to embrace Japan's ability to pay tribute to their traditions and their history while having one foot in their future.
I hope one day their will be as many illustrated variations of Hanafuda as there are western cards.
Thank you for joining me in the first step and reading this first post. I hope you'll continue to join me on this journey to get this deck finally produced and in the hands of many to create their own memories!
On this blog I'm going to teach you what I know about Hanafuda. As well as teach you (and learn with you) some of the many games you can play with these beautiful cards. I'm also going to share with you the Kickstarter journey, my challenges and revelations and the finalization of my art. I hope you'll participate and give your opinions! I want everyone to be part of bringing these to life!