Nintendo’s Many Video Game References to Hanafuda (and Karuta)

I really doubt this list is complete, though I did my best to include as much as I could. If I find more stuff I’ll add it, and feel free to leave a comment if you can think of anything yourself!
Update 4 September 2022 – added Pikmin Bloom
Update 22 October 2022 – added more pictures of the hanafuda boxes because they have neat art!

Appearances in Nintendo Games

Game Boy Camera Japanese version has this picture in the B Album

Pikmin 2 had you collecting real-life items, including a hanafuda deck https://www.pikminwiki.com/Talisman_of_Life

Hanafuda is available to play in both Clubhouse Games …games (as well as Clubhouse Games Express: Strategy Pack and the Japan only like, reduced version of clubhouse games called Daredemo Asobi Taizen). In the DS versions, it is called Koi-Koi, as that is the actual name of the game, and hanafuda is the name of the cards.


This card shows up in Quite Puzzled microgame from the Japanese version of WarioWare: Touched! (It was replaced by a western playing card in the international versions)

One of 9-Volt’s microgames in WarioWare Gold is based on hanafuda https://www.mariowiki.com/Hanafuda

These hanggliders in Mario Kart Tour are based on a real deck Nintendo produced, see below

There were a bunch of Hanafuda items added to Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

In Super Mario Odyssey, Bowser’s Kingdom Sticker features some Mario themed hanafuda cards. Also its industry is hanafuda cards according to the in-game map – https://www.mariowiki.com/Bowser%27s_Kingdom

The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit house has this picture of Napoleon from one of Nintendo’s hanafuda deck boxes

https://www.reddit.com/r/NintendoSwitch/comments/7r5n73/the_tamagotchilike_labo_game_has_a_reference_to/

Pikmin Bloom

Though for some strange reason Nintendo calls them “Flower Cards” (which is what hanafuda literally translates to) in the game and promo stuff

Digital Appearances in Other Nintendo Stuff

Streetpass Mii Plaza got a hanafuda themed speech bubble

https://www.spriters-resource.com/3ds/streetpassmiiplaza/sheet/76335/

Swapnote got hanafuda themed stationery

https://www.spriters-resource.com/3ds/swapnote/sheet/140667/

There were also four hanafuda 3DS themes (plus a Nintendo history one)
Hanafuda – https://youtu.be/luOe_bTo-z8

Mario Hanafuda – https://youtu.be/q3t2o_a0xyo (I love the Mario theme remix here : )


Club Nintendo Hanafuda – https://youtu.be/i8SAOq9qGWk

Pokémon Hanafuda – https://youtu.be/aO7lTu_0t8c?t=33

Tokaigi 2015 “Nintendojo” Original Theme – 闘会議2015「任天道場」オリジナルテーマ – There was a special event called Tokaigi 2015 Nintendojo where if you beat one Dojo Master you won this exclusive theme! For more info (in Japanese) about this event check out https://tokaigi.jp/2015/booth/nintendojo.html.

Nintendo’s Line Account made this calendar for January 2016, and used the other image for their background that month

both from https://www.mariowiki.com/Gallery:Kinopio-kun#Backgrounds_used_for_Nintendo_Co.,_Ltd.%27s_LINE_account

Nintendo Japan wallpapers

Real-life Hanafuda Merchandise

The Game Boy Micro got a hanafuda faceplate

And so did our other faceplate wearing system, the new 3DS!

Hanafuda themed keychains that you got from pre-ordering Giftpia in Japan

Nintendo Company Guides – 2014, 2015, 2019 Huge thanks to http://blog.beforemario.com/ for documenting these!!

The entire 2014 book is based around hanafuda with many of Nintendo’s old toys drawn in hanafuda art, I highly recommend checking out the post at http://blog.beforemario.com/2014/05/a-closer-look-at-nintendos-2014-company.html to see all the photos! Here’s a sample

2015 – http://blog.beforemario.com/2015/05/nintendos-2015-company-guide-is-visual.html
2019 – http://blog.beforemario.com/2021/05/nintendo-company-guide-2019.html

My Nintendo Europe offered postcards based on the Napoleon Mario deck (they also sold the deck itself at the same time) https://my.nintendo.com/rewards/70604724dabc9845

Nintendo themed Hanafuda Decks

You can find a list of hanafuda decks that Nintendo has produced here:
https://nintendo.fandom.com/wiki/Japanese_playing_cards

Of course, the best ones are the video game themed ones
We have the Mario Napoleon set

Better images at https://www.mariowiki.com/Mario_Hanafuda that link also pointed out these two promo images that have teeny little hanafuda cards, what a treat

The box

https://kakakumag.com/hobby/?id=8635
https://kakakumag.com/hobby/?id=8635

Pokémon hanafuda deck – this set also got heavily merchandised with keychains, pins, and coasters

This set of Pokémon x Mario cards

https://japanplayingcardmuseum.com/img/193-character-mario-pikachu.pdf
This picture took me 30 minutes to find

Kirby also got a Hanafuda set ^^

Finally, Club Nintendo offered another set of Mario themed hanafuda cards – This set is unlockable to use in Clubhouse Games 51 Worldwide Classics!

https://www.reddit.com/r/Hanafuda/comments/s9w9d0/i_just_framed_my_club_nintendo_hanafuda_that_were/

Karuta

In Kirby Super Star Ultra there is a sub-game based on karuta card games, a different kind of Japanese playing card
https://kirby.fandom.com/wiki/Kirby_Card_Swipe

There was a first party DS game based on the karuta card game uta-garuta called Touch de Tanoshimu Hyakunin-Isshu: DS Shigureden
https://niwanetwork.org/wiki/Touch_de_Tanoshimu_Hyakunin-Isshu:_DS_Shigureden
(thanks Torchickens 💚)

Club Nintendo Japan made an Animal crossing Karuta deck

More resources for the exceptionally interested

For more general information about hanafuda and where it’s showed up in video games over the years (and where I got a lot of info from) https://nintendo.fandom.com/wiki/Hanafuda

Both NoA and NoE have PDFs of how to play Koi-koi currently up on their websites:
https://www.nintendo.com/consumer/downloads/hanafuda_en.pdf – NoA
https://cdn02.nintendo-europe.com/media/downloads/other_1/my_nintendo_store_3/MyNintendoStore_Manual_Hanafuda_MarioCards_UKV.pdf – NoE

Play Nintendo Japan got a short webcomic about hanafuda
https://www.nintendo.co.jp/kids/sp/160525/hanafuda01/index.html

It has this cute art of Mario and Toad playing!

If you’re interested in Nintendo’s history with card games in general I recommend this post!
http://blog.beforemario.com/2013/11/nintendo-iroha-karuta-part-1.html?m=1

If you enjoy this stuff, I personally loved reading the Wikipedia article about karuta, which explains the many kinds of Japanese card games and where they came from : D https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karuta

There’s a bunch of not Nintendo hanafuda video games floating around too, I’m not that concerned with them, but you can find lists here https://nintendo.fandom.com/wiki/Hanafuda or here https://www.giantbomb.com/hanafuda-card-games/3015-7399/games/ if you’re interested though. I support that decision.

Bonus non-Nintendo hanafuda sighting (this is my list I make the exceptions): The Hatsune Miku Project Diva games that have Close, Open, Demons and the Dead – In the music video, there are hanafuda cards scattered on the ground

Thanks for witnessing!

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