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

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Breaking Bad Bromides (No, Not "Breaking Bad" Bromides)

I love coming across new vintage Japanese cards. It's definitely not easy! Many of the menko and bromide cards in my collection came from US collectors helping me out, so what's left are unknown cards and rare finds. These blank-backed bromides were pretty cheap, but they did come at a price.

I don't know exactly where they were stored, but at least one of them smells like death. Like, seriously rank, God-awful stench. I left them sitting out for several weeks, but even so, after being in a sleeve or box for a while, the smell returns. I might need to leave them out in the sun for a few hours. Thankfully, they're all blank-backed so I can leave them face-down to avoid too much damage. On to the cards.

1950 Marutoku Large Black & White Third Prize Bromide - JBR 9a - Chusuke Kizuka. He's throwing so hard his feet left the ground.
Probably 1950 B&W Type 2 3rd Prize - JBR 2a. Shigeya Iijima. The fans look almost fake, like the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.
1950 Game Bromides Premiums - JBR 87a -  Akiharu Tezuka. This is one of three cards from this set I got. I put this one in my type collection.
1950 Game Bromides Premiums - JBR 87a - Tetsuharu Kawakami. Seeing a bit of the dugout made this a pretty cool card. This set has at least a few great photos.
1950 Game Bromides Premiums - JBR 87a - Takashi Kouchi. Here's another card from the Game set, this time showing some action on the basepaths. Kouchi is the runner, facing the camera. I think the umpire is levitating. And there are some spectators off in the background!
Black and White Small Text Bromides - JBR 124 - Hiroshi Nakao. This fairly standard card also went into my type collection.
Unknown card. Hiroshi Hagiwara. None of Hagiwara's cards match this description. So I have no clue which set it's from.
Unknown card and player. I love the image, but I don't know where it comes from. This card has a slightly glossier top, but it may be from some form of glue or something added by the collector. This has those odd printing/cutting crosshairs, which means it most likely was cut from a larger sheet at a shop or at home.
Probably 1950 B&W Type 3 3rd Prize Premiums (JBR 7a) - Tetsuharu Kawakami. Sadly, this card has some paper loss, but it still has a great image of the stadium in the background. And Kawakami is a legend.
1950 Color with Handwriting Bromide - JBR 89a - Shigeo Ueno. Another card with an interesting background, this one also is colorized! And it has an interesting stylized handwritten-style font. This card also made it to the type collection.

That's all for today! My favorite is probably the Kawakami with the scoreboard in the background. I'm a sucker for scoreboard shots. What's your favorite? Until next time..


  1. "seriously rank". Lol. Love it. A few years ago, I purchased some sketch cards on eBay that smelled like cigarette smoke. Someone suggested placing them in a bag with a dryer sheet. I used the combination of that with airing it out and after a few weeks it was a lot better. You could still smell the smoke, but it was much less faint.

    1. Yeah I think I might need to leave these out for quite a long time. The smell disappeared at first, but I think I didn't leave them out long enough, because after putting them in a box for a day or two I could smell it again.

  2. My favorite thing about old bromides is sometimes they have amazing photos. I like both of the Kawakami's, the Kizuka (they captured him mid-hop!) and the Tezuka especially. Wonder which ballpark that scoreboard in the Kawakami card is from - probably Korakuen.

    1. Yeah, the bromides often have interesting shots, and the menkos have interesting artwork or designs. Old Japanese stuff is just plain cool. I would guess you're right about the scoreboard, given that is their home stadium and probably the go-to place for a lot of photos by publishers. Plus, it basically matches a photo I found from 1953 - it's hard to tell for sure, but how many NPB stadiums were there in 1950, and how similar were their scoreboards?

  3. Beautiful cards, nice finds! Fortunately the smell doesn't come through via the internet!