Sumio Kawakami Picture Playing Cards
A classic print artist of the early twentieth century, Sumio Kawakami’s work often focusses on the interaction of new foreign influences on Japanese culture in the Meiji period.
These playing cards feature classic 1939 designs by Kawakami. Among the suits: clubs have a Japanese theme, diamonds feature figures from the near east, spades show Chinese elements, and hearts have motifs from the south seas.
The joker is Fukusuke, the large headed character of good luck.
Card games are themselves a foreign influence on Japan, with the loan word karuta used from Portuguese. This sets of cards was styled by Kawakami as toranpu (a game of trump).
They are by card game specialists, Okuno Karuta-ten in Tokyo.