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

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Baseball Menko Madness: Full Set!

Are you sick of seeing cards of players I can't identify on cards that are uncatalogued? I'm not tired of researching them, but today's menko set - the last, I think, for a little while at least - is cataloged. (By the way, cataloged, not catalogued. Uncatalogued, not uncataloged. Huh, spell-check?)

Today's menko cards come as a complete set. Identified as JRM 2, the set is called 1949 Starburst for obvious reasons: a yellow starburst is located behind each player's head. The cards are blank-backed and are considered pretty rare. They measure 1-7/8" in diameter.

Note that there are three variations of this set, all larger than my cards. Cards that are 2-5/8" (set 2a) are more valuable and include three variations (Betto, Kawakami, and Aota). 2b is 2-1/4" in diameter, and is considered extremely rare. Finally, set 2c is 3" in diameter and due to a recent find they aren't as valuable.

Since this set was printed in 1949, it predates the creation of the NPB, though as I mentioned yesterday all of the teams in existence in the Japanese Baseball League at that time transitioned over to the restructured league.

This "base" set is considered a rarity of R1 (250-1000 copies of each card), with singles ranging from $10-60 and a complete set listed at $300. I think I got a pretty good deal!

Here is my complete ten-card set:
Kaoru Betto and Henry "Bozo" Wakabayashi
Takehiko Bessho and Fumio Fujimura
Michio Nishizawa and Nobuo Nakatani
Shigeru Chiba and Tetsuharu Kawakami
Hiroshi Oshita and Noboru Aota


  1. Those are beauties, I love the round disc shaped menko of that era.

    Also "Catalogue" is how we spell it in Canada (and everywhere else in the English speaking world outside the US), perhaps your spell check is set to an international version?

    1. Those are nice looking and a great, easy-on-the-eye set.

    2. I did buy this computer in Japan, though it should be US settings. Oh well.

      I love all of the drawn menko, though die-cuts are my favorite. These are pretty fun and have great artwork on them.

  2. Awesome! I like the Oshita with the catcher and ump in the background. Also when I saw the Kawakami I thought of Ted Williams. PS I looked him up and Kawakami's nickname translates to "God of Hitting".

    1. He does look a bit like Teddy Ballgame. I've seen that nickname before. If Kawakami was the God of Hitting, Oh must be the King of Hitting (Oh means king).