Creative Karuta Award 2019-20(旧)

News:The entry deadline was extended to 31st March 2020. The Contest Name is now called 'Creative Karuta Award 2019-20.'

What is Creative Karuta Award?

  • This is an international contest to call for pictures & writing for creating a new set of a traditional Japanese card game called ‘Karuta’.
  • The prize winners will receive karuta cards with the winning works printed on each card.
  • It aims to promote karuta globally through the contest.


  • Deadline: 31st March 2020

  • Result Announcement: Early May 2020
  • Award Ceremony: June 2020, Tokyo

Learn Karuta. (Click here)

What is Karuta?

  • Karuta is a traditional Japanese card game around a theme.
  • We use text cards and matching cards (for examle with picture) to play karuta.
  • The below photo shows a pac of karuta cards themed around various countries. This is the prize for the Creative Karuta Award 2018.
  • It has 30 sentence cards on the right and 30 matching picture cards on the left.
  • The below shows an example pair of sentence and mathing picture card on a subject, ‘Hula Dance’, USA
  • The picture and sentences were created with a secondary school student in Japan. The winner submited a clue in Japanese. And the contest office created, added the English sentence to make the karuta bilingual.

How to play Karuta in English

  • Spread picture cards face up on mat.
  • A card reader holds all sentence cards and players can’t see them.
  • First the card reader reads aloud a sentence. For example, Under blue sky, dance slowly with waves “.
  • Players listen for clues to find the matching picture card.
  • A quickest player to touch the matching picture card wins the card.
  • The winner is the player with the most picture cards at the end of game.


  • Creative Karuta Award was started to create karuta cards themed around Tokyo Olympic countries (which number is 206) and to hold an international Karura game Championship in 2020.
  • This is the final contest to complete ‘206 countries karuta’ set so we will select and award 206 works representing 206 countries/regions.

Who can take partr?

  • Open to everybody worldwide from children to adults.
  • Entries from individuals or schools will be accepted.

Age Category

The total 20 works, at least 2 works from the following each age group, will be selected for this category award.

  • 7 years old or younger
  • 8-11 years old
  • 12-15 years old
  • 16-19 years old
  • 20 years old or older

Country Category

  • All entry works will be also judged by the subject’s country.
  • The only one (1) work per one (1) country will be selected so 206 works in total will be selected for this category award.
  • Please note that all entries to the Awards in last few years will be included for this category’s selection
  • This selection is made separately from the one for the age category but some works may be selected for the both category.

Entry Work

  • Submit a pair of picture and writing (called ‘Work’) representing the subject freely chosen by the applicant.
  • Multiple entries by the same applicant will be accepted.

Subject to draw and write

  • Wonderful nature, rich culture in your chosen country.
  • For example buildings, places, foods, festivals, sports and natural scenes.
  • It must be something which is well-known, represents the chosen country.


  • Use white paper less than or equal to A4 in size.
  • Any art media, materials and method can be used.
  • The picture must be the unreleased, original work created by the applicant himself/herself.
  • No computer generated images will be accepted.
  • No picture showing copyrighted images such as characters from books, movies will be accepted.


  • Choose a language, English or Japanese.
  • Write with 3 to 12 words if you choose English.
  • Write in Japanese with 5 to 20 syllables.
  • Your writing should include words which serves as a clue to find the matching picture.
  • Writing can be assisted by another person such as your family or teacher.

Judging for Age category

  • The entry work will be judged by creative karuta experts including Ms. Mikiko Haraguchi (Vice chairman, Japan Kyodo Karuta Association).
  • The judges would like to see Works with a charm that makes them feel like seeing the real ones.
  • The total 20 Works, at least 2 Works from each category, will be selected.

Judging for Country category

  • All entry work will be also judged by experts in 206 countries/regions.
  • The judges expect to see the works really representing the chosen country.

Prizes for Age Category

  • A set of Karuta cards with a winning work printed on each card.

Prizes for Country Category

  • A pair of sentence and picture card with the winner’s work printed on each card. (no karuta pack)

Results Announcement

  • By early May 2020 the only winners will be notified of the results by email.
  • The results will be also announced on Karuta 2020 website.
  • All winning entries will be displayed at the Award Ceremony held in Tokyo, June 2020.
  • All prize winners will be invited to attend the Award Ceremony and to be presented with their prizes.
  • The winners who can’t attend the ceremony will receive the prizes by post after the ceremony.

Entry Conditions

  • Regardless whether winning or not all rights in the entry works belong to FROM JAPAN Institute.
  • All entry works won’t be returned.
  • The entry works may be used partially or modified when we print Karuta cards. For example we may use only the picture or edit writing.
  • Regardless whether winning or not your entry work may be published on our websites, SSN and printed materials.

Handling of Private information

  • Any private information which we collet for the Creative Karuta Award 2019-20 will be only used for this contest.
  • Usage purposes: confirming the entry information, notifying the contest results, sending the prizes and conducting the contest smoothly.
  • Disclosure of personal information to the third parties: With the only winner’s consent of printing their name on karuta card, their name will be provided with the printing contractor.
  • Except for this case any personal information won’t be disclosed to third parties without permission of the applicant.

How to enter:

How to enter: Individual Entry

  • Read‘Entry Guidelines’and‘Sample Writing Sheeet’
  • Print‘Entry Form‘ and ‘Writing Sheet
  • Fill in‘Entry Form’and‘Writing Sheet’
  • Draw/paint a picture on white paper (A4 or smaller)
  • Pastethe Writing Sheeton the backside of thepicture
  • Enclose the (1)Entry Form (2) picture and (3) Writing Sheet (on the backside of the picture)
    Sendthem to the above ddress by post.

How to enter: School Entry

  • Read‘Entry Guidelines’and‘Sample Writing Sheeet’
  • Print‘Entry Form‘ and necessary number of the ‘Writing Sheet
  • Fill in‘Entry Form’and‘Writing Sheet’
  • Draw/paint a picture on white paper (A4 or smaller)
  • Pastethe Writing Sheeton the backside of thepicture
  • Enclose the (1)Entry Form (2) picture and (3) Writing Sheet (on the backside of the picture)
    Sendthem to the above ddress by post.

Frequent questions

When do pepole play karuta in Japan?
Traditionally we play karuta on New Year’s day when family members get together. As part of primary/secondary school curriculum children play karuta at school because karuta is an educational card game with a theme such as literature, geography. Karuta is also played for Karuta Game Chimpionship held in communties nationwide.
My child is just 3 years old so she cannot write words yet. Can I create writing for sentence card on behalf of him?
Yes. You can write sentence on behalf of him.
But you cannot help her drawing. The picture must be the original work created by the applicant without someone’s help.
I love drawing. But I am Russian and cannot write in Engish or Japanese. Can I enter the contest?
Yes. Please ask your teacher, family or friend to create writing on behalf of you.
Can I submit the picture by email?
No. We wil not accept any entry by email. Please submit your work by post.
Can you send me an email when the contest office receives my work ?
I am afraid, we cannot do that because of many entries. Please use the registered mail or a courier company to know our receipt of your work.
How can I know the results?
First we will send an email to the winners by early May 2020. We are afraid the emails will be sent to the only winners. The results will be also announced on Karuta 2020 website in May 2020.
Is my work returned if my work is not selected for the Award?
We are afraid ‘No’ because of many entries.


  • ‘Creative Karuta Award 2019-20’
  • Phone: +intl-81-(0)42-439-5445


  • Karuta 2020 Project Team
  • Team members: FROM JAPAN Institute, Japan Kyodo Karuta Association and Suginami Karuta Project

Winning Works of the last contest

Winning works of Creative Karuta Award 2018(創作かるた賞2018受賞作品)

The following karuta cards were created with the winning works of the last contest, Creative Karuta Award 2018.