I'm back in business after an extended break getting through Thanksgiving and turning in two mid-term papers. I've been keeping up on my fellow bloggers' posts, but have failed to get one out myself in three weeks. Hopefully I'll have time to get several more before the Christmas and New Years breaks. This set has been sitting in my to-be-catalogued binder and is ready to get inserted into the 4th edition of the Sumo Menko and Card Checklist.
I picked this set up about a year ago and it is one of the popular R-series (Rikishi series) die-cut sets. In fact, this is the latest one I have come across and have nailed it down to being produced in 1974...likely right in the middle of the year. So far, these 8 menko are the only ones I have come across and there are some big names in the set. Here is the checklist:
There are some big names in this 8-menko lot especially Takamiyama and Yokozuna Kitanoyumi who went on to become one of the greatest yokozuna of our generation.
The menko have a great/manga like drawing of the rikishi's likeness on the front standing in their kesho-mawashi. Notice the hairy chest on Takamiyama....he was one hairy foreigner wrestling in Japan. This style of menko was very popular in the 1930s-1950s and so it is nice to see it revitalized here. The backs have a wealth of biographical data on the rikishi (pre-internet goodness) such as height, weight, birthplace, stable name and favorite winning technique. The rikishi's shikona (name) dominates the middle with a nice Gu-Choki-Pa symbol at the top. Backs are printed in purple ink.
This is the only R-series set I know of that was printed in the 1970s and they are extremely hard to find. They do look like they have been popped out of a sheet as there are little nubs around the edges of the menko. A nice looking and rare set if you can get your hands on some of them.