Beloved manga series that revolutionized a traditional Japanese card game will officially end on August 1 with some special commemorative features.

Yuki Suetsugu’s manga series Chihayafuru has now surpassed 27 million units sold in both physical copies and digital copies. The story began serialization in Kodansha’s monthly Be Love manga anthology in 2007 and quickly went on to win the 2009 Manga Taisho Award and the 2011 Kodansha Manga Award in the shojo category, eventually inspiring three animated TV series, three live-action films, and a series of novels as well. Throughout its run, it has also popularized competitive karuta among the younger Japanese crowd, paving the way for increased participation in karuta after-school club activities around the country.

▼ Volume 49 of Chihayafuru, which goes on sale on July 13

While Volume 49 was originally announced to be the final volume of collected chapters of the series, publisher Kodansha has now confirmed that the series will conclude with Chapter 247 in the September 2022 issue of Be Love, available on August 1. This issue will pay tribute to the series with a Chihayafuru cover and include a colored poster and commemorative essays with remarks from members of the anime and live-action casts.

▼ The final chapter will reveal the results of series protagonist Chihaya’s climactic final match on her quest to finally become Queen, the title for a female champion of competitive karuta (the title for a male champion is Master).

While all good things must come to end, having an official end date does feel a bit bittersweet to me personally as I just recently started reading Chihayafuru. Our Japanese-language reporter’s thoughtful February essay on why she loves the series actually inspired me to pick it up for myself. After seven volumes so far, I’m already deeply invested in Chihaya and her karuta club members and want to cheer them on as if they were my real classmates. The story is also slowly teaching me the rules of competitive karuta based on the Hyakunin Isshu, the classical Japanese poetry collection of 100 poems which forms the basis of the cards.

▼ Chihaya flanked by her two karuta-playing best friends since elementary school: Taichi and Arata

Although my classical Japanese language ability needs a LOT of brushing up, I’ve even just purchased a deck of Hyakunin Isshu karuta for myself and look forward to practicing alongside Chihaya and her friends as I progress through the story. Even if I don’t have what it takes to someday become a Karuta Queen, at least I’ve been working towards becoming another kind of Master my entire life as a solid back-up plan.

Source: PR Times
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