Wisteria [藤 - ふじ, fuji] is the name of a suit in traditional hanafuda decks. It is generally taken to be the fourth suit, representing the month of April [四月 - しがつ, shigatsu] or the number 4. The cards in this suit all feature hanging wisteria vines with clusters of purplish flowers. There are two Chaff cards, one Plain Ribbon, and one Animal. The Animal card of the Wisteria suit features a Cuckoo [不如帰 - ほととぎす, hototogisu] in front of a red (usually crescent) moon.
This card combines with the Bush Warbler and Geese in Go-Stop to form the valuable “Five Birds” yaku. When captured alongside the other three Wisteria cards, it forms the “Wisteria Stripe” yaku in Mushi and in some versions of Six Hundred. In many other games, this card plays no particular role other than for making generic Animal yaku.
This card combines with the Iris Ribbon and Bush Clover Ribbon in some games such as Go-Stop to form the “Grass Ribbons” yaku. In many other games such as Koi-Koi and Six Hundred it merely contributes to generic Ribbon yaku.
This suit, like most, has two Chaff cards. In some older patterns such as echigobana each of these will feature half of the following waka poem, of dubious authorship.
|-||Waga yado no||The waves of wisteria by the pond|
|-||ike no huzinami||at my house|
|-||yama-hototogisu||Will the mountain cuckoo|
|-||ima ya konakan.||not come now?|
Fairbairn, John. “The Poems of the Echigobana.” Journal of the International Playing Card Society, Edited by Trevor Denning, XIV, no. 4, May 1986, pp. 97–102.