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

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Monday, September 14, 2015

New Release: 2015 Epoch Carp Red Helmets 40th Anniversary

Thanks to the Japanese people's love of two-syllable words and four-syllable names, Red Helmets is actually "aka heru" (essentially pronounced aka hell). Aka is red. Just thought you'd like to know.

Forty years ago, though, the Carp were hell to opposing teams. In the 1970s, the team's cap/helmet color was changed to red to symbolize a fighting spirit, and that change happened as the team would win three league pennants and the Japan Series twice through 1980. They tacked on another pennant and Japan Series victory in 1984 just for good measure.

The Carp remain a highly popular team, but that might be only due to their legacy. They haven't had a truly successful season in the past 25 years or so, possibly due to a serious lack of finances. They do seem to get a bunch of box sets issued every year - more so than many other teams - but that could be due to less-expensive licensing fees.
 One of Epoch's most recent sets was issued to commemorate their past success (that first league pennant came in 1975), though the set doesn't feature players exclusively from that era. The set is simple but attractive, with the same design feel Epoch has been using lately. There are 61 regular cards in the base set. 29 are retired players, 30 active, one manager and a mascot make up the set.

Each box comes with one base set and three special cards.
 There are two versions of regular autograph cards. Three players have "print" signature versions only, while 38 players (12 active, 26 retired) are on the white version, and 26 retired players are on the red border version. Print runs vary based on the player and card. Active players have 30 or less copies per, while retired players each signed about 63 copies of the white card, and around 30 of the red card.
 I believe two Shadow Box autograph cards come in each box (on average, at least). There are gold (60 copies), red (20 copies), and holographic (1 copy) ink parallels. I'm not sure if the black ones are authentic autographs yet (not printed), but I believe them to be.
 There are also Koji Yamamoto memorabilia cards. They're pretty rare, though. A total of 106 cards were issued as follows:

  • Gold Tier small circle bat #/60, rectangular bat signature #/30, and barrel signature #/10
  • Red Tier and Holo Tier versions of the above all numbered 1 of 1.

Epoch released an image of the bat pieces as you see above - pretty cool if you ask me! I wonder what they did with the ends and outer barrel. They don't seem to have ended up in any of this product's relics.


  1. I think this is the second time we've both done a post on the same set on the same day. Great minds think alike..

  2. At least two of the OB Carp players have passed away - Toshiyuki Mimura and Tsunemi Tsuda - so I'm guessing they're two of the three players who only have printed autographs. Unless someone put a Sharpie on a Ouija board...

  3. NPB Card Guy: I see your post! Nice timing. Or maybe I'm just way too far behind. And thank you for the notes... I'm sure you're right.

  4. Looking at the checklist, I see there's a "*" next to three of the OB players - Tsuda (#49), Mimura (#55) and Sachio Kinugasa (#42) who is still very much alive. That's a shame that there's no actual autograph of Kinugasa available because I could see that being a major draw for the set.