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Friday, January 13, 2017

Young Champion Magazine Trading Cards, and some Aikatsu

With baseball, I have player collections. Nolan Ryan, Jose Altuve. But after living in Japan for a while and learning a bit about other aspects of modern culture, I have also begun a "player collection" for an idol.

I'm sure I've written about Yuko Ogura in the past, and I'll probably write about her again in the future. But for now I want to focus on something I've done some preliminary research for.

Young Champion is a magazine that's been issued about twice monthly since 2002. I've never seen a magazine in person - at least that I've noticed, yet - so I can't tell you much about what's inside. But I do know that it features a few photo spreads on gravure models or idols.

It seems that YC has always included some sort of premium with the magazine (as is common in Japan), possibly randomly at first. Very early on, they started issuing "premium" cards that were included with the magazine, usually six at a time.

Being that Yuko Ogura was a long-time popular gravure model, and even today makes appearances on TV shows and has released books recently on motherhood, she appeared on the cover of Young Champion at least eleven times, over a period of at least seven years. I believe that most of those included six cards each, which means about sixty cards in total.

I won a bunch of random cards from the magazine in YJA auctions, so here is that "haul":
 Here are two cards from 2007. These are the fronts of the cards. I didn't scan any backs. Cards are numbered by year.
 A couple from 2005. Backs of most idol cards include additional photos; in larger sets they may form puzzles or include a couple cards with biographical data or basic facts.
 As you can see, the design changes from year to year.
 This is the only card without a date on it, so I believe it's one of the earlier ones. I'll eventually have a better idea of these cards as I can gather more.
 These last three cards are from some sort of larger set of 18 cards. It's broken up into three subsets, with this subset called "Love". I'm missing a couple cards from the set now, after getting these three.

For the record, here are the issues I've found where Yuko Ogura appears on the cover. There may be more where she is not the cover model, or additional issues that I overlooked:

  • 2002-13
  • 2003-3, 2003-19
  • 2004-13
  • 2005-1, 2005-17
  • 2007-16
  • 2008-6, 2008-16
  • 2009-1, 2009-11
In line with last year's and this year's card resolutions, I have been looking for singles to finish off some Japanese sets. The Aikatsu card game has basically run its course, but a year ago some free calendar stickers were attached to Suntory soda products. I had most of them but still need a couple more, so I've picked up a couple lots off YJA to get closer to finishing the set. I think I need one more to be done. (By the way, I don't know exactly why I'm so interested in finishing this set, other than the novelty of finishing it.)

 The stickers are about half the size of a regular trading card, just a little wider.
 In addition to just using the whole sheet as a sticker, individual parts can be separated. (One lot had duplicate stickers.)
The calendar part at the bottom and the character in the middle can both be used as separate stickers. Obviously there are 12 in the set, covering the school year calendar from April 2015 to March 2016. The identical backs have details about the product.

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