Shinto Playing Cards

The April 19th issue of Jinja Shinpō introduced Shinto playing cards, which have been developed by the Shinto Youth Association. These are standard playing cards — four suits of thirteen cards each, with two jokers — with pictures of Shinto things on each one. There are also short explanations. For example, going by the picture in the paper, “torii” is on the seven of spades, while “kagura” is on the jack of hearts.

The idea is that these packs of cards could be given out to children at shichi-go-san (two of clubs) as a way to make them more familiar with the basics of Shinto, and to encourage them to spend time with their parents. It does not look as though they are available for sale to the general public; jinja can order them directly from the manufacturer.

An interesting fusion of Japanese and European culture.

Addition on April 29th: I didn’t realise these would be so popular. The Shinto Youth Association has a web page for the playing cards, from which you can download a large image of the whole pack. (Interestingly, it isn’t quite the same as the image printed in Jinja Shinpō — shichi-go-san is on the nine of diamonds, for example.) They are taking orders from jinja and offer to deliver in September, so maybe some places will make them broadly available then.

I have a Patreon, where people subscribe to receive in-depth essays on various aspects of Shinto, about once per month. If that sounds interesting to you, please take a look.

8 thoughts on “Shinto Playing Cards”

  1. Well, I’ll be honest: I do wish I could see the cards and collect a deck of them. They would be a neat way for me to learn more kanji for Shinto terms. As always, thank you for sharing such interesting things. I always enjoy reading.

    1. Thank you! Quite a lot of people have expressed an interest in the cards; maybe they should try to find a way to sell them.

  2. I would love a pack too, David. Not only for myself, but also for my Japanese friends who have school age children.

        1. I’ve found a link to an image of the cards, and added it to the post. Still no way for anyone other than a jinja to get them, though.

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