Hanafuda Tournament

Chris Fleck
Wednesday - July 20, 2011
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Photo Courtesy Helen Nakano

To benefit the Mililani Project Grad 2012 program, an intergenerational Hanafuda playing card tournament is being held July 23, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mililani Hongwanji.

The ancient Japanese card games of Hanafuda, or flower cards, adapted many different variations as the game migrated throughout Asia. Hanafuda was introduced to Hawaii by Japanese immigrants more than 125 years ago, played by workers on the plantations. It has since been gradually passed down from grandparents to children and grandchildren.

The most popular Hanafuda game and the one that will be featured at the Mililani Project Grad 2012 tournament is Sakura, which expert and Hanafuda book author Helen Nakano describes as “Hanafuda, Hawaii style.” To Nakano, Hanafuda and its games can be essential and important to the balance of our ever-changing technological world.


“Children are getting addicted to Facebook, texting, electronic games; they are not learning to deal with real relationships and family conflicts. Family members may occupy the same physical space, but they are relating to people outside their own families; elders are increasingly isolated,” says Nakano, whose book Hanafuda, Local Style comes with a set of cards. “There is no substitute for real time practice of face-to-face communications to learn how to live successfully.”

The Intergenerational Hanafuda tournament is open to youths, adults and seniors. The tournament will pair two-person team partners 20 years apart in age against similar teams. “There have been other Hanafuda tournaments in the past, but the Intergenerational Hanafuda tournament is designed to bring generations closer,” Nakano adds. Nakano has worked hard to introduce Hanafuda to many clubs and organizations throughout the community including Family Health Services Division, Boys & Girls Club and Pacific Buddhist Academy. The celebrity challenge portion of the tournament will feature Joyce Fasi, widow of former mayor Frank Fasi, Mrs. Hawaii 2011 Christie Oclaray, as well as actor and Leeward Community College professor Douglas Kaya.


For more information or questions, visit hanafudahawaii.com or call 927-0993. 

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