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

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Menko Madness: The End is Nigh

I'm glad to say that this post will finish off the non-sport side of the massive menko mountain that continues to haunt a corner of my room. And that just leaves baseball! That's not much, unfortunately, but they are nice.
 I almost put this one in the "well-loved" section (at the bottom) but it deserved its own post. Mighty Atom (Astro Boy) graces the back of this cartoon-fronted menko.
 The crazy sea-monster front is worth its own post. I don't know what that is in the foreground, but the the background image looks like a battleship sinking as it's attacked by another fighter jet. Is this a reference to Pearl Harbor?! The back has a robot shooting laser beams at poor unfortunate screaming kids. This is similar in style to other menko backs we've seen in this post run, though there are some differences, including the massively long menko number at the bottom. Note that this back is almost the same as baseball menko JCM 129, 1958 Mitsuwa War/Playing Card Backs. However, the printer's mark isn't in the playing card section. I've mentioned that a similar card looked like it's from JCM 141, 1962 War/Playing Card Back.
 I really wish I knew more about Japanese TV. Whatever cartoon is on the front looks like a genie using his garlic breath to fight off kids. The backs have war images in the lower half, and yes that is an atomic bomb cloud. I don't know the kanji there, though.
 The next one comes from another Japanese show, and the back here has a space theme. The kanji below it translates to satellite.
 This next image might be the creepiest. Though if you go back to the first post in this series you'll see a guy in bondage gear. The back is pretty non-descript, though the animal artwork in the middle is nice.
 Once again there is a series with one odd card out. Actually, there are three shows here that I can tell, Kamen Rider (outside cards), Ultraman (inside cards), and some anime in the middle.
 These menko backs have a lot going on. They all have main pictures featuring transportation. The Japanese text is related to the picture.  At the top is a directional hand, a baseball play (four ball [walk], ball, balk, etc), and a nature scene. And the bottom has a die roll, menko number, and janken symbol. I guess you could do about any game you'd like with these cards! Except for playing poker games.
 This next group is an eclectic bunch. The cards at the bottom all have the show's title on the front, while the vertical cards do not. One card has a silver border and is smaller in size than the others, too. But they all share similar backs.
 Colors are generally blue on the back, except for the smaller card. Some sort of military rank or a space theme makes up the picture, with the text at the top relating to that image. The manufacturer's mark is next to the menko number, which varies by card.
 Continuing with the same group, here are three more that didn't fit on the scanner.
 I'm curious if the space backs and military personnel backs are from the same issue or separate issues, despite the front images being from the same show.
 Once again I don't know what's going on on the front, and the back is quite busy as well. The text at the top says "rocket" in Japanese, but that looks like a robot to me. There's also a copyright symbol at the top, a janken symbol near the middle, and a manufacturer's symbol toward the bottom, above the menko number.
 The last main card group is this single card with the front and back of Japanese coins. The color side has the front of a 100 yen coin and the back of a 50 yen coin, while the green monochrome side is reversed.
 The card is miscut but neat. Actually, through all of this I've seen some menko cards I wouldn't mind having full sets of, like the money menko. Maybe I'll come across a bunch at a flea market someday.

To finish out today's post, here are some cards that were truly well-loved.
 All of these cards have only one side. The other side is completely mutilated or has been separated from this side. So I can only show this side of the card.
And whoever owned these cards made their menko stronger by taping some of them together in pairs or even threes. I found at least one menko trapped between two others.

So that's it for the non-sport. Baseball tomorrow, I promise!

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