Wednesday, December 5, 2018

German Beer, Aniline, BASF, and Japanese Beauties

If you are reading this you are hopefully intrigued, and if you have gotten this far, maybe you'll read a bit further. (inspired by Shawshank Redemption)

It's no secret that I am enamored by Japanese beauties when they are in the form of 1960s bromides attached to yukata fabric bolts.  In fact, I've become a avid collector of these cards and the cloth they adorn.  This past month, I picked up a very intriguing yukata bolt which ties 1800s German Beer Making, post-war Germany (with ties to Nazi Germany), post-war Japan, and the Japanese entertainment industry together.  Intrigued? I hope so.  Here is the quick "6 Degrees of Separation" of this story.  In the 1800s, the Europeans, especially the Germans, were brilliant beer brewers and chemists.  Friedrich Engelhorn was the son of a beer brewer in the German town of Mannheim.  His early life experiences gave him the knack for metallurgy, business, and the gas industry.  Eventually, while making and bottling gas to sell to pubs for lighting (of course), he also produced tons (literally) of coal tar that he didn't know what to do with.  Along comes William Perkin from England who discovers that you can make brilliantly colored synthetic dies by chemically processing coal tar to get aniline.   Real dies are expensive, synthetic dies not so much, so Friedrich establishes the well-known company Badische Anilin Soda Fabrik (BASF) to produce synthetic dies from all his excess coal tar.  Success gets BASF in trouble though. After BASF merges with 5 other companies in the 1920s to form IG Farben, IG Farben goes on to produce Zyklon B for the Nazi Party which is used in gas chambers for the extreme mass-murder atrocities.  The allies win, IG Farben is dissolved, but BASF remains to produce peaceful chemicals for the European Economy.  Enter post-war Japan.  In the 1960s, both Germany and Japan were enjoying an economic boom.  BASF decides to open up a factory in Japan.  And Japan's boom spreads to the textile industry, especially kimono and yukata.  A need for a synthetic indigo die emerges to color the cotton fabric for the kimono and yukata.  BASF is there to meet the demand and a partnership is born.  The entertainment industry was also thriving in Japan during the 1960s so they helped promote and sell these brilliantly covered fabrics.  Here is how I imagine the story going......the Japanese Women's Club Magazine (A very popular woman's magazine at the time) contacts the Tokyo Main Die Yukata Company to produce these yukata to help with sales of their magazine, the Tokyo Main Die Yukata Company buys the synthetic die from BASF, adorns their high-quality cotton with indigo-colored shrimp, asks a famous actress/singer to promote the product wearing samples of the fabric via a bromide card, secures the card to the fabric, packages it up, sends it to a local shop, puts a ¥980 price on it (about $22.00 at 2018 prices), sells it to their customer.....and 50 years later you have this beautifully crafted and packaged product that now resides in my collection.  I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Before There Was TV - 1931 Kokugikan Sumo Wrestling Set

In Japan, before there were televised broadcasts of sumo tournaments starting in the early 1950s, coverage of the live action occurred on the radio.  We take the internet and television for granted these days, but in the first half of the 20th Century radio and newspapers were the main medium to transmit news and information.  Most of us can conjure up historic images of families sitting around the radio listening to their favorite show.  In Japan, these early sumo broadcasts were familiar to the masses.  In an effort, to place a name with a face, these Stadium/Kokugikan card booklets were produced so fans could follow along a tournament visualize their favorite wrestlers.  These are not unlike the souvenir programs you get at games these days.  Two of these card booklets were issued per year; one showing the wrestlers on the west side of the banzuke, and one showing the wrestlers on the east side.  They issued these in a ten-year span from about 1921-1931.  This one is one of the last ones made and was printed for the March 1931 tournament with the east side wrestlers along with a header cards showing the Kokugikan and the 4 top referees.  Folded up, these booklets measure about 4" x 6", but when it is unfolded, it reaches a length of almost 30".  Each individual card is 1 5/8" x 3.5".  These are hard to find, but one to two come up for auction every year.

Monday, November 19, 2018

I've been Zapped! Thanks Kenny at Torren' Up Cards!

Kenny over at Torren' Up Cards opened some packs of 2018 Topps Stranger Things and had a wishlist.  I opened up 3 Blaster Boxes of Topps Stranger Things and had doubles I needed to unload.  I offered to do a straight trade for the ones he needed for the one I double cards needed a good home and my doubles box was not it.  But Kenny took it upon himself to zap me and load me up with some goodness.

First up is the Will Byers sticker I needed.  For those that have not see the Netflix series....go watch wont be disappointed.

Next up is a sweet auto (#3/5) of Hiroshi Gondo who played for the Chunichi Dragons (and won Rookie of the Year I might add) in the 1960s and was a manager off and on after that up until 2012.  Thanks!!

Beau Burrows was the Tigers' First Round pick in the 2015 draft and is currently developing in the minors.

Raz did a write up on his haul of Sega Card Gen cards, but these are the first ones I have ever owned.  For those that don't know, these cards are used to play an arcade game in Japan.  I've linked a YouTube video of it here.  Pretty cool, and thanks for hooking me up with this 2011 Sega Card Gen of Matt Belisle now currently with the Twins.


Another video arcade card...this time of Masahiro Tanaka.  This game is called Baseball Heroes from Konami and the cards were printed in 2011.  If I was rich, I'd have these arcade games in my basement and I'd invite all my friends over to play.

This is my first ever Calbee Card....This is a 2016 card of Shogo Akiyama celebrating his new record of 215 hits in the 2015 season.

Gotta love me some BBM Baseball.  This 2016 BBM is from the 2nd Version and of player Daiki Tomei.  He is still pitching, but didn't do too hot last season.

Time for some color....this is the 2014 Bowman Platinum Chrome Purple Refractor of Jesse Biddle. Jesse is now with the Braves.

Another auto!  This one of Jake Sweaney (Did I mention his birthday happens to be least the day I wrote this??).  Jake isn't playing at the moment it looks like, but I love these on-card autos.

Some more acrade game cards...this time of Sega WCCF International Clubs Soccer.  I don't recognize any of the names, but you can see how the game is played here.  Again, these video games that incorporate the card collecting aspect are legit in my book!

Lastly are some nice looking ladies on cards....Mayuko Iwasa and Nanami Kawakami.

Thanks again Kenny and I am hoping we can do a trade at some point again in the future!