Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Friday, March 9, 2012

The circle of life... and cardboard.

This isn't a philosophical post. Instead, it's a post about some round cards!
 Holy menko, Batman! That's right. Batman menko. This is one of several cards I found in a little toy shop in Omiya. When I say little, I mean about as big as the average American bathroom. And it was jam packed with little toys and cards gathered from the last several decades. I could probably spend an hour or more just exploring all the goodies. Instead, I focused on the cards. I was quite happy to find a basket full of old menkos, including the Dark Knight above.
 Most of the menkos in the basket seemed to be from the same series, including this shot.
 I really enjoy the backs on menko cards, as there is so much to do! Here we have numbers (could be used for math games), a hand (for rock-paper-scissors), a die, another pointing hand, text, and even a separate line art drawing!
 Ack! Squid creature! Is this from Godzilla?
 Again, all kinds of neat stuff on the back!
 Train fans rejoice! I could probably ask someone who speaks Japanese (or at least knows a lot about Japanese trains) to identify the station.
 The backs on the train cards aren't so exciting, though it looks like there is a good bit of train data in kanji!
 I believe this is from the same series as the girl who fell off the table (?!), even though there's a different picture in the middle. The cartoon artwork seems to be from the same show, too.

 Ack! Scary God-like creature with a lightsaber! With a deer-ear headband and wings! Blue skin! And a W-shaped hairline!
 Hrm. The girl looks quite angry and abusive, but it appears that mom is enjoying the massage.

Okay, enough non-sport. You came here to see baseball cards. So let's look a-round...
 Hah! What an awesome pun! This is one of two cards from a larger-size menko set issued in 1976 that I bought for a couple hundred yen each. Nearly 6" in diameter, they feature color photos with the rock-paper-scissors symbol and a menko number on the front.
 And here's the second card. One of them wasn't listed in my book, so it could come from a different series or it might be uncataloged (at least it wasn't back in 2008).
This card is even larger, also issued by Mitsuya in 1976. However, it seems that this larger-sized issue (nearly 10" in diameter) was produced in greater supply, as its "value" is less than the series above. However, I think I paid more at the store for this one. The checklists for each set vary.

I picked up a few more cards (of recent issue) at the store, but you'll probably see those later. If you're interested in obtaining some menkos like these, please let me know ASAP. I've found another store in the Tokyo area that might carry some other non-sport menko cards and I plan on searching through their stock for some pickups. Also, I might return to the Omiya location and pick up more of those oversized baseball discs if there is some interest!


  1. Love the 3rd card... sort of reminds me of the Battleship Yamato from Star Blazers. Cool pickups!

  2. Tell me that is the Battleship Yamato! Tell me you can get two of those and bring one back for me!

  3. jacobmrley: I have no idea what that is, but I'll be glad to check next time I can get to Omiya. It *might* be a while though. I'm supposed to head that direction towards the end of April, so I'll do my best!

  4. Awesome, Dr. Slump cards! Funniest manga ever. The first one is Arale, and I think the second one is Midori. It's Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama's first series, and it is freaking awesome. :D

  5. In 1994, the Chiba Lotte Marines produced a menko set that was given away at the stadium as an uncut sheet. If you happen across anywhere that might have them, either as an intact sheet or as separate cards, I'd really like to pick up the Hensley Meulens from the set. I'd readily drop $30 on the Meulens alone. The amount I'd give for the uncut set would be largely determined by shipping costs.

  6. Jason: I'll keep my eyes open for you. Until last week, I hadn't seen much of any team issues in any of the stores I've visited, but one of the Mint chain stores had a bunch of Hawks cards. So, when I get to the Chiba store, I might find some luck with Marines cards. I'll let you know if I find anything!