Nintendo's Punny War-Era Fish Cards

It's no secret that Nintendo started out as a playing card maker — and still is one. Game translator Matt Alt spotted this reproduction set of "Osakana Karuta" (Fish Cards) that were produced by the Okuno Karuta Company and Nintendo back in 1937. Explains Alt:

Originally created in 1937 by a PR man named Hideo Hasegawa as part of a campaign to promote fish sales, the cards feature light-hearted puns based on the names and appearances of various edible sea-life. Above, a hungry anglerfish stuffs his huge mouth, yari-ika ("spear squid") and a cuttlefish are compared to their namesakes, and a procession of hotaru-ika ("firefly squid") light up the night. This being the 1930s, several cards featured military themes, while another portrayed a whale being harpooned at sea.

Hasegawa died on a New Guinea battlefield during WWII at age 35. Bummer.
Osakana Karuta [Alt Japan]


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