Menko(めんこ, 面子) is a Japanesecard gameplayed by two or more players. It is also the name of the type of cards used to play this game. Each player uses Menko cards made from thick paper or cardboard, printed on one or both sides with images fromanime,manga, and other works. A player's card is placed on the hardwood or concrete floor and the other player throws down his card, trying to flip the other player's card with a gust of wind or by striking his card against the other card. If he succeeds, he takes both cards. The player who takes all the cards, or the one with the most cards at the game's end, wins the game.
Menko has been popular from theEdo period. Its quick and simple rules have made it popular among children of all age groups. Because technique is just as important as power in this game, smaller children can compete fairly with older players.
The pictures on these cards reflect the popular culture of their time, and Menko cards from thepastreflectimportant information about theirera. In the Edo and earlyMeiji period, images likeninjaandsamuraiwere popular. Before World War II, the most popular images were of the military, like fighter planes and battleships. After the war, characters fromanimeandmangawere popular, as well asbaseballplayers. Collectors of Japanese baseball cards collectbaseball menko. In the late 1980s to early 1990s, Menko cards were decorated withholographsand sparkles