amano14.jpg (14775 bytes)       The Amano Tarot Deck

This Japanese deck/book set is available from the same people who distribute the Miracle Tarot Deck. It is a 78 card deck. The Major Arcana have the traditional names. Strength is eight and Justice is 11. The suits are Pentacles, Swords, Cups and Wands. The Court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Page. The Major Arcana, the court cards, and Aces are all rendered in a lot of detail. The two through ten of each suit are pips and rather simple ones at that. The depict the requisite number of small suit symbols in a pleasing arrangement that leaves a lot of white space. The Major Arcana have the card number in the top border and the card name in the bottom border. The card name is in the top border upside down, and in the bottom border of the Minor Arcana. The cards are slightly smaller than average at 2 1/2" X 4 1/2". The card cutting process has left little bumps at the top and bottom of each card - remnants of where they were attached to each other. I think this would wear flatter with repeated use. The cards are very glossy and the backs are reversible.

The art is excellent. It appears to be pen and ink line drawings colored with ink. Bold, primary colors and black predominate. There is a lot of movement in the scenes and the deck has an exciting, slightly frightening look. The style places it in the category of art deck. There is little regard for the traditional depictions of the Major Arcana. Many of the Japanese decks I own seem to be designed to appeal to young girls. This deck seems much more adult. There is some nudity and many of the characters depicted look just a bit dangerous. Many of the cards have a large central character whose clothing or surroundings are rendered in tiny details. The eye does not know where to focus first and subsequent looks reveal details missed on first glance. The cards seem to take place in a fantasy world. The Chariot driver has wings, and Strength is a fairy. The Tower has tentacles and Judgement sits atop a mountain of horns. The court cards are also well done and are depicted in many different styles. The Aces show a large version of suit symbol that is highly decorated.

The book that comes with the deck is in Japanese and seems to provide a description for each card and several spreads ranging from four and five card spreads to the Celtic Cross, to a pyramid spread that uses all 78 cards. The cards sit in two wells in a piece of soft foam. The foam is wrapped in cardboard to prevent their slipping out. The cardboard wrapped foam and the book slide into a case for storage.

I recommend this deck for collectors. Apparently Tarot is fairly popular in Japan as I see more and more Japanese decks on Ebay and other places. Folly of the Alchemist was the first Tarot site to prominently display Japanese decks and provide information on their availability. It is where I got the information for ordering the Miracle Tarot and the Amano Tarot. I ordered my copy of the Amano deck a couple of months ago. The price, including shipping was approximately $35.00. You can write them here: Mangaou Club. It may take them several  days to answer your inquiry so don't be discouraged if you don't hear from them right away.

Amano Tarot Deck
ISBN: 4-415-07438-3

Images Copyright 1991 Emile Scheherazade and Yoshitaka Amano


Review Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson
Page Copyright 2000 by Diane Wilkes