Without the Chihayafuru manga and/or anime, it’s safe to assume many overseas otaku would never have known about competitive karuta. But the fast-paced poetic card game now has an official Chihayafuru Fund, initiated by manga author Yuki Suetsugu.
“I want people to have a good time by playing the competitive karuta with their friends,” Suetsugu said on launching the fund. “I want to give back to many things that I got from the competitive karuta. The number of karuta players has continued growing. That’s why we want the children who are familiar with the competitive karuta to have a dream, ‘I want to keep playing karuta,’ and to grow stronger with that dream.”
The fund will be run on donations by the public and corporate sponsors, and will devote itself to spreading the word about karuta, as well as encouraging new players and supporting competitions. Chihayafuru itself has been running in Kodansha’s BE LOVE magazine since 2008, the anime first airing in 2011 to return for a third season in 2019.