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

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Baseball Menko Madness: Face Not Included

 Another lot of menko cards have made their way into my collection! The first set have no player images. Instead, a colorful banner with the player's name takes up most of the card, with a silhouette of a baseball player and various shapes surrounding it. The player's jersey number is included on thef ront. The players are as follows (left to right, top to bottom): Masayuki Kakefu, Yutaka Takagi, Suguru Egawa, Sadaharu Oh, Masaru Uno, Katsuhito Mizuno, Sadaaki Yoshimura, Daisuke Araki, Hiromitsu Ochiai.

The photo-less cards are similar in concept to the 1988 IFT Strike/Ball/Out set, including some of the design elements found on the back. These are definitely not from that set; however, these cards were produced by IFT.

The remaining two cards come from another set, the c. 1973 Thick Menko (JCM 15b) set. The Giants player is Toshimitsu Suetsugu (again!) and the Carp batter is Koji Yamamoto.
For the IFT set, backs have a collection of things for use in games. A play of some sort is described at the top, including "slump" "sign" and "changeup" so it's not playable like a baseball game. Each of these plays has a corresponding point value, which is described in the text and in the large baseball. Next to the baseball is stylized text which says (on my cards) "home run", "hit", "triple", "out". I only have one "out" so it looks like this game could go on for quite some time. Below that text, a position (shortstop, pitcher, right field, etc). The bottom row has a random dice roll, line art of a plant, and a janken symbol. A copyright line identifies this set as being produced by IFT.

Like other c.1973 Thick Menko cards I've shown, these Type I backs are unrelated to the fronts. Engel doesn't mention back colors, but I think it's worth mentioning that I have both a light blue and black back here.

Since I'm a big fan of art cards, I like the IFT cards, despite (or perhaps partly because of) their simplicity. I wouldn't mind putting together a full set - if IFT used the same checklist as their JCM 19 set, there are 42 cards. IFT issued three sets which are cataloged in Engel's book, and I wouldn't mind having all three. But for now, I'll just add these in to my type collection.


  1. Those cards remind me of a hanafuda cards from my childhood. Great memories of my grandmother kicking our butts at the dining room table after dinner. Good times.

  2. I've heard of hanafuda but never played. The Japanese government's interests in controlling fun resulted in the creation of a ton of different card games and styles, though!