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

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Super Mad Sick Awesome Vintage. Topps is JEALOUS.

Recently, I made a trade with a very involved Japanese card collector located in the States. He has a lot of vintage cards that I can use for my type collection, and he wants new cards for his type collection. At first, I didn't realize he'd send this many cards, but despite being warned at the number of cards in the package, when I opened the package I was quite overwhelmed! It took me a full day to identify and catalog most of them. The cataloged cards are the ones you see below.
 The package contained a lot of menko and bromides. The old uniforms are amazing to look at and nothing is more fun than trying to decipher kanji!
 A lot of these cards have colored black and white photos, but a few use art. I really enjoy the art cards (see the round cards, especially) even if the drawings are sometimes crude.
 Some of the cards in the package date to the 1940s - pre-Topps era. And I think all of them are rarer than any regular Topps issue.
 The four-in-one card has playing card backs, and many were probably cut up into tiny playing cards. I have an example from a different set with a larger sheet, too!
Here you see my first two karuta cards. Karuta is a game where you match the hiragana with an info card. It appears with Japanese poems, baseball players, or anything else, really. The torifuda deck is similar to (but not the same as) shiritori. The cards you see here are torifuda (grabbing cards), with the reading cards called yomifuda.
 Older menko frequently came in non-rectangular shapes, like these round menko. The older cards are the ones with drawings instead of photos, so they are usually my favorites.
 The card on the right here is an oddity. Based on my guide, it could be some kind of game. Finding or receiving oddball Japanese cards is really fun!
Speaking of oddballs, the package also included this promo card for Banzai Babe Ruth, a book about the 1934 tour of MLB players in Japan.

There are more cards to come - the ones I couldn't identify! I'll post those tomorrow!

Meanwhile, Mystery Trader, if you want me to make your name known let me know, otherwise I'll keep you anonymous. Your package blindsided me with its awesomeness, but I think I have something that kind of matches up to where we stand! I just need to get you some of the newest 2014s...


  1. Cool stuff. That looks like a Shigeo Nagashima card on the far left of the third row. Is it a rookie card from 1958?

  2. It's a '58 Marukami, yeah! I was really surprised when I ID'd it.