Date: Sat, 8 Nov 1997 15:41:34 -0500
From: Joe Celko (
Subject: Hanafuda cards

You can get a deck of Hanafuda cards in the US from:

US Game Systems
179 Ludlow Street
Stamford, CT 06902

The game is marketed under the name Kwa-Do and the instruction book is copyrighted in 1959 by K. K. Corner and R. Whitbeck.

Each month is represented by a plant or some other symbol in the picture

In the picture you can also have one of the following: four bird (10 points), ten scrolls (5 points), a wharf (10 points), a shield with "long life on it (10 points), a butterfly (10 points), a pig (10 points), a deer (10 points) and five Kwang or coins (20 points).

The cards are actually printed in Belgium, but the instruction manual and score pad is in English. They give the rules for a simple 2 to 6 player game, but the four player game is something like this:

1) Deal out hands of five cards to each player, expose eight cards on the table.

2) Each player, starting at the dealer's left tries to match a card in his hand with one on the table.

a) If you make a match, put the pair in front of you

b) If you do not make a match, place a card from your hand face up on the table

The booklet does not explain how you match cards! I gather that they mean you build pairs of cards in the same month.

3) Draw a card from the deck and try to match it

a) If you make a match, put the second pair in front of you

b) If you do not make a match, place the drawn card face up on the table

Note that you can make two matches in one turn

4) If the table has no face up cards when you start your turn, then you must place one on the table. You then follow rule 3 and might leave the table empty again for the next player.

5) A hand is over when all 48 cards are matched up

6) A game is over when a player gets 200 points

7) Points are counted at the end of each hand. There are 240 points in the basic cards, but then you can get bonus points for special combinations of cards. The Yaku sets are three cards, you can make all four cards in a month, get all five Kwang cards, etc. It gets a bit elaborate, but the booklet uses a picture for each meld so you can follow it easier.

There are no other games explained in the booklet.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell