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

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Menko Madness: 1972 Kankan Menko and 1976 Viking Set

Today, I thought I might speed things up and show you a couple sets. Both of these can be linked to sets listed in Engel's most recent guide, though neither set indicates the existence of non-sport cards.

As always, it's possible that baseball and non-sport cards were issued together, or sold separately but were issued at or around the same time.
 The fronts of the Kankan menko have the typical white borders. They feature two images, just like the baseball cards; a front image towards the bottom and a back image near the top. Photographic images are colorized.
 The baseball cards can be found with green ink (common) or brown ink (rare). A Japanese word or expression is at the top in a banner, a bat shape is on the left with a baseball expression, and on the right is baton-shaped box with a soccer expression. The center has a playing card number over a janken symbol, and the menko number is at the bottom next to a manufacturer's symbol. Note that the symbol on menko 96103 and 41015 matches the symbol found in Engel's guide. The symbol on card 20162 appears to be Marusho, and I haven't done any research for the remaining two numbers. The back colors vary slightly from printer's mark to printer's mark, too. I'm pretty confident these were created at the same time, but might have been printed, distributed, or marketed by different companies.
 The 1976 Viking set has a similar concept to the Kankan set. Two images, one on top and one on bottom, fill the front. Most of the cards I have seem to feature the same show.
Backs all have a viking-like design that I think might be related to (but not identical to) Kamen Rider or other popular hero shows of the era. Again, there are multiple colored backs, and again the mark in the circle varies. Engel's guide mentions that the baseball cards have black ink backs. A janken symbol and a long menko number are at the bottom.

I think it's important to note that backs might have been "recycled" from card set to card set. And a series of card backs or even entire card sets might have been sold to various printers to use, at least in the 1970s as menko cards were losing popularity to Calbee and Bikkuriman. Dates here are based on Engel's guide for baseball card sets; these sets were probably produced around the same time.

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