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

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Awesome Find: 2011 BBM GPBL (Women's Professional Baseball)

I know that in 2013 and 2015, a company called AIAIO issued cards for the JWBL, the women's professional baseball league in Japan. I'm pretty sure they issued cards in 2012 and 2014 as well, but I don't have any examples. Getting the cards isn't easy; I was able to buy a full set this year but prior years' cards seem to only have been available by trading with the players after games.

I found an auction lot of 2010-2011 cards and was very happily surprised when I saw exactly what I had won. You see, Yahoo! Auctions photos are very low-quality, and sellers can sometimes have virtually no information in the listings, so there's a bit of guesswork at times. Especially with the language barrier.

In 2010 and 2011, BBM issued cards for the GPBL (it would be renamed JWBL in 2013). There were only two teams, so to make the set bigger each player seems to have at least two cards.

First, 2011. Because that's how they're set up.
 Regular cards for the Hyogo Swing Smileys come first.
 Then Kyoto Asto Dreams.

 There are foil cards toward the back of the set.

 There's a roster card, too.
 This 2011 facsimile signature card has an "H" prefix, I'm guessing for Hyogo.
 Moving into 2010, this foil facsimile signature card has an "HS" prefix.
 While this regular Kyoto card has a "K" prefix.
And this Kyoto card has KS prefix.

I don't have a full checklist or really any idea about the subsets/inserts. I did find that cards were given away or sold at games, and packs were sold for 200 yen each. I would really like to build a full set of these, but I've never seen them in card stores, even in the Osaka area. For that matter, I also want the 2012-2014 sets too... oh well.


  1. Nice find! I suspect we will need to build out these checklists a card at a time. As generic as the NPB card sets have become, I think it is high time BBM puts a little more effort in some of these independent and minor league teams. Even though players from these leagues rarely move up, it would still be a nice change of page from the endless mascot inserts.

    1. I think BBM is too "big" to handle minor/independent leagues. But companies like AIAIO (which makes the JWBL cards now) can certainly fill the gap. In 2010 and 2011, the GPBL/JWBL was a super hit and BBM was cashing in on the craze, but I think it's like the other one- or two-year sets they issue that people quickly grow tired of. It's a non-sport issue, but the Miss Campus sets are a good example of something that quickly lost its appeal. I could see Dancing Heroine going down to one set a year or completely disappearing too.

  2. Very cool! I had no idea these existed. I wonder if they were some sort of joint issue between the league and BBM. That might explain why I haven't seen listing for the sets in SCM.

    1. SCM doesn't bother with indy leagues; heck, they don't even bother with team issue sets or Frontier's sets. Actually, that's probably a JSCA thing, but my beef with that is best saved for a post of its own.

      I feel that the AIAIO cards are a collaboration, because JWBL makes its players available after the games for autographs. And AIAIO sets up a booth at the games for making custom cards so you can then trade those for the players' cards.

      The BBM arrangement must have been a sort of joint issue too since it was given away at the games. Maybe I'll get lucky and come across a bunch of these in the future.