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

Want Lists are located here. NPB Baseball Want List is located here.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Oddball Find: Idol Bromide PP Cards

 Sold like most bromides, these cards came in a pack (front and back shown above), individually packaged in light lavender colored envelopes. Each envelope originally would cost 20 yen (about 20 cents). "PP" is, I believe, some kind of plastic/coating - the cards are kind of shiny and some rare ones have hologram backgrounds. I've seen "PP" used on other sets as well, and they usually have that background for at least some of the cards.

There is no manufacturer listed. There are 30 cards in each full pack plus the one on the front.The cards below are sorted by "number" though at least one card number is shared. The subjects are all idol music stars. I could spend a few hours figuring out details, but I'm going to just go with "early 1990s" as the era these are from.
 Each card front has a "Power" number, which is always a four digit number with the last two digits "00". There's also a playing card symbol with a janken (rock-paper-scissors) symbol inside. This card is of Eriko Tamura.
 The backs are virtually identical for every card. The same six photos in colored boxes take up most of the space, with "IDOL BROMIDE" along the left edge. The bottom has a number which I'm using as the card number, followed by the name of the person on the front of the card. As you can see here, Takuya Kimura is a member of SMAP, a boy idol group.
 Yumiko Takahashi
 Rieko Miura of the girl group Coco.
 Alisa Mizuki (Arisa Mizuki).
 Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, also of SMAP. This is a good point to mention that there are actually a couple different backs - the design is exactly the same, but the dark-pink (fuchsia?) colored backs have six different photos from the yellow colored backs. And later on, you'll see a third style.
 Rie Miyazawa. You can see her on the back, but in a slightly different photo from the same event.
 Goro Inagaki, another SMAP member.
 Takuya Kimura of SMAP with another card. A cropped version of this photo appears on the back of the rare cards.
 from Hikaru Genji, a music group, this is Akira Akasaka. Note that he shares the same card number as Takuya Kimura. It's possible that there are about 60 cards in the set, with 30 yellow-back and 30 pink.-back. But I don't have enough evidence to even begin checking that.
 Hiromi Nagasaku from the group Ribbon (Ribon here). She's gone on to become a comedic actress.
 Riho Makise
 Alisa Mizuki again
 Masahiro Nakai, the oldest member of SMAP.
 Here's Riho Makise again.
 Hikaru Nishida has pretty good English skills, since she lived in LA for about 12 years.
 We have the full SMAP group with this last card of Shingo Katori.

Now on to the rare shinies. These are unnumbered and have a slightly different back design. But what sets them apart is the holographic foil backgrounds. Super cool! These are also pretty rare, though I don't know how many are in the set so I couldn't tell you how rare each card is. I will say that I got two out of the envelopes (that's 1:15 odds), plus I kept the one from the front of the display package.
 Here is SMAP all together.
 Hikaru Nishida returns with a peace symbol.
And one more Riho Makise for the road. This is the card which was on the front of my packaging. These days, "sample" cards are put in small plastic sleeves, which are then taped to the front, but this card was simply taped to the front of the package. So there's a tiny bit of residue from the tape, and from something else. I could probably clean it up a little bit if I tried.

And that's it! I had a decent number of duplicates, so if this set really has 60+ cards in it, good luck finishing it all. But the images found on the backs weren't duplicated on the fronts of most of my cards, meaning there must be several more cards out there. Perhaps (I'm doubtful) I'll come across a few more taba packs of these and we'll find out together!


  1. I've always assumed the PP meant Pika Pika or "shiny" in Japanese. I've run across a few of these packs when looking for sumo stuff. There is at least one taba pack still out there.

    1. I bet you're right. I always just assumed PP referred to the plastic coating. That makes perfect sense, though.

    2. BTW, that's a crazy price on that taba. I got mine for less than 10% of that cost.

    3. This auction has probably been up for a while.

  2. SMAP or SNAP?

    1. Hehe. I remember that song quite well... it brings back memories of the roller skating rink.

  3. These ladies and gents remind me of a Japanese version of Beverly Hills 90210.

    1. Dang it, you just reminded me that I was going to add in a couple videos to this post. Oh well, it's going to have to wait for next time.