Creative Karuta Award 2020

What's karuta?

  • Karuta is a traditional Japanese card game around a theme.
  • We use text cards and picture cards to play karuta.
  • The below photo shows a pack of karuta cards themed around various countries.

How to play Karuta

  • Spread all picture cards face up on mat.
  • A speaker reads a text card aloud.
  • The players compete to touch the picture card which matches the text.
  • The quickest player to touch the correct picture card wins it.
  • The winner is the player with the most cards at the end of the game.

Rules of Participation

  • Children and adults are invited to submit their drawing and text about the following 21 countries.
  • The winning works will be used to print a traditional Japanese card game ‘Karuta’.
  • The winners will receive the printed karuta cards.
  • Multiple entries are accepted.


  • Asia & Oceania:
    Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, North Korea, Tajikistan, Yemen & Solomon Islands
  • Africa:
    Angola, Eritrea, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Togo
  • Americas:
    Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama
  • Europe:
    Luxembourg, San Marino


  • Choose one from 21 countries and draw something famous in that country (for example: buildings, mountains, festivals, foods)
  • Use white A4 (21×29.7cm) or smaller paper.
  • Any art media, method can be used but each drawing must be handmade, original, non-published and created by the participants themselvesf.
  • No drawing showing copyrighted images will be accepted.


  • Write the text (clue) connected with your drawing in English (3-12 words) or in Japanese (5-20 syllables).
  • Someone else can write text on behalf of the participant.
  • Writing a text is optional if the native language of applicant is not English or Japanese.


  • One work per one country, the 21 works in total will be selected.
  • The judging will be made by Karuta experts and others including Ms. Mikiko Haraguchi (Vice chairman, Japan Kyodo Karuta Association).


  • A pair of printed karuta cards with your work


  • Must arrive by 29 January 2021.
  • The result will be announced in April 2021 on our website.

Other Conditions

  • The submitted works to the last contests (1 – 4 works per country) will be included for the selection.
  • The submitted works won’t be returned and may be used partially or modified when we print Karuta cards (eg. use only the picture)
  • Regardless whether winning or not: All rights of the submitted works will be reserved by FROM JAPAN Institute. Your works also may be published on our website, SSN and printed materials.
  • Any private information which we collect will be only used for the contest.


  • Karuta 2020 Project Team (FROM JAPAN Institute, Japan Kyodo Karuta Association and Suginami Karuta Project)

How to apply

  • Print (1)Entry Form and (2) Writing Sheet and then fill in.
  • Draw a picture and paste the Writing Sheet on the back of (3) the drawing.
  • Send by post the (1)(2) and (3)

If you live outside of Japan,

  • First take a photo of (1)(2) and (3) and send them by emailbefore the deadline, 29 January 2021.
  • Then send them by post. It is ok to send by postafterthe deadline. Because the International airmail service to Japan may not be available due to the Corona pandemic.

Mailing Address

Creative Karuta Award 2020
c/o FROM JAPAN Institute
3-4-45 Shibakubo-cho,
Nisitokyo Tokyo 188-0014


How to apply

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 Championship held in communities nationwide.
I would like to draw something famous in UK. Do you accept my work?
No, this time. We are working on making karuta cards for 206 countries of the Tokyo Olympics. We have already collected drawings of 185 countries including UK. So we are looking for pictures of the remaining 21 countries.
I am Russian and cannot write in Engish or Japanese either. Can I enter the contest?
Yes, you can. Please ask someone to fill out the forms on behalf of you. But you need to draw by yourself.
I would like to send 3 pictures. Should I fill out 3 Entry Forms?
Please fill out only one Entry Form and write “3 ” in the section of 1. Number of drawing of the Entry form.
Can I submit the picture by email?
Normally, we do not accept works by e-mail, but there are many countries where international mail to Japan has been stoppped. For this reason, if you live outside Japan, please first take a photo of the drawing and forms and send them by e-mail before the deadline. Then, when international mail starts, please submit the documents by post.
Is my work returned if my work is not selected for the Award?
No, we are afraid.
How can I know the results?
The results will be announced on Karuta 2020 website. We will also send an email to the winners.
Do you have any plan to hold another contest after this one?
This is the final contest of the five-year project. However, few people in the world know karuta, so if we can secure financial resources, we would like to continue.


  • ‘Creative Karuta Award 2020’
    Phone : intl+81-42-439-5445

Download: Entry Documents(PDF)

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.