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

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Rare Ichiro: 2002 Upper Deck Yunker

 I wasn't sure what I was getting when I saw this pack sitting at a local card shop. Sure, it's got the Upper Deck logo and MLB logo, and I know of Sato Healthcare Innovation. But I didn't know Yunker, and it's a sticker on a foil pack. Was this legit? Was it an aftermarket stamp or something?

Well, opening the pack yields this:
It looks similar to your run-of-the-mill 2002 Upper Deck cards, but with Yunker Special Edition printed on the front and unique card numbering on the back. There's that Sato logo again, too.
There's only one card per pack, and this is number 3. So I did a little research. Yunker (pronounced you-n-kay-roo - ユンケル) is a "health" drink that Ichiro did some commercials for. 20 cards were issued in all, and there's a nice little card holder to go along with it. I'm not calling this a discovery - these cards are known to US collectors thanks to Collecting Ichiro, though I got my info from Yahoo Auctions details. Since I don't usually poke around in Ichiro boxes, I've never seen them until now. I got this pack on "clearance" but originally it was 800 yen at a card shop in Nagoya - these cards aren't cheap.


  1. Very cool! I’ve never heard of this set either.

  2. These are new to me as well. Thanks for sharing these.

  3. I'm glad you're interested. Hopefully I can get my hands on a full set!