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The Card Game

A work made of color woodblock print; oban triptych.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of color woodblock print; oban triptych.


c. 1790


Utagawa Toyokuni I 初代 歌川 豊国
Japanese, 1769–1825

About this artwork

This scene is a wealthy home in Edo. To the left, four young men play a game of cards called karuta, which is still popular in modern Japan. It is played with two decks of one hundred cards each. In one version, the one hundred poet cards, each bearing a portrait of a poet, are spread out before the players. A moderator holds the poem cards and selects a line or phrase from a poem. Players must try to be the first to recognize the author and pick up the face card. The game winner holds the most poet cards at the end.


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Arts of Asia


Utagawa Toyokuni I


The Card Game


Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Color woodblock print; oban triptych


37 × 74.3 cm (14 5/8 × 29 5/16 in.); Left sheet: 37 × 25.3 cm (14 5/8 × 10 in.); Center sheet: 37.1 × 25.2 cm (14 5/8 × 9 15/16 in.); Right sheet: 37 × 25.2 cm (14 5/8 × 9 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


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