Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A big bowl of Sukiyaki! - New Set 1963 Amada Famous Stars Trump (G631)

Everyone knows the feeling of reaching into your winter coat pocket after you put it on the first time during winter and discovering a long-forgotten $20 bill, getting surprise present from a fellow trader or friend, or finding out the latest episode of The Walking Dead is an hour and a half instead of an hour.  This newly discovered set is all those joyous feelings wrapped up into one.  Due to oversight or carelessness, I thought I had picked up a 4-card auction of Japanese sumo and baseball cards.  Low and behold, I realized that I was bidding for the entire 54-card set (52 cards plus 2-jokers).  And what a set it is in the sheer amount of famous stars from Japan from 1963.  However, as I was thumbing through the set I realized that there was one card in here that stood out from the rest as I saw the telltale kanji of 九 in Kyu Sakamoto's name.  Kyu Sakamoto had some semblance of Richie Valens' life in they both had successful singing careers early in their life and both died in plane crashes: Richie tragically in Iowa and Kyu in the mountains of Gunma Japan on Japan Airlines Flight 123...the deadliest single plane accident in history.  I had a chance to visit the crash site and memorial when I lived in Japan and a somber rememberance of all the lives lost.

Why am I mentioning Kyu Sakamoto?  This card is the earliest known of him (although my research against this statement is very limited) and printed just a few years after his breakout single Ue O Muite Aruko (Sukiyaki in Western Countries) made him a superstar in Japan and the United States.  Sukiyaki was the first Japanese song to climb to #1 on the American Top 100 charts which did so in 1963.

On a brighter note, these are two previously unknown baseball cards of Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima...hopefully they'll make it into the next edition of the Japanese Baseball Card Checklist.  This set also has Yokozunas Taiho and Kashiwado which I'll get into the 5th Edition of the Sumo Menko and Card Checklist.....Pro Wrestler Rikidozan is in this set and was was unfortunately murdered not too long after this card was printed.

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