Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New Sumo Wrestling Set / 1935 Rikishi 4-6 (R353)

This set popped up the other day and I had never seen it before so I knew I needed it for my collection.  It is definitely hard to find and a nice, early R-series menko set from 1935.  It has Minanogawa and Musashiyama before they were ranked at Yokozuna!  Nothing particularly distinguishable from this set and one of the many from the 1930s that had very similar designs.

Monday, January 29, 2018

1930s Japanese Sumo Menko Lone Soles

Unfortunately, my Lone Sole pile is slowly accumulating more cards than are being matched.  This pile has lone examples of particular sets that I try and hook up a sole-mate to so I can catalogue them in my book.  These past few months, 4 more have entered.....hopefully destined to leave before I do.

First up we have an early 1930s halftone M-series menko of Shinkai.  I would hope I can stumble across more of these as they have a very distinctive back.

 Next is a beautiful gold-gilded drawing of Kagamiiwa in the M-series from the early 1930s.  Another distinctive back.

 I haven't been able to translate this back, but looks like a kimarite finishing move on the front and the style is from the early 1930s as well.

 Lastly, an R-series of Taroyama from the mid 1930s.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

1963 Tokyo Yukata Sumo Bromide Cards

Here is another example of more unique and collectible cards that are surfacing every so often.  Enter 1960s Japanese Bromide sumo cards attached to yukata bolts.  Yukata are worn by sumo wrestlers all times of the year and stores sell that same material in bolts to the fans to make their own.  In the 1960s, the patterns were not as intricate so attaching a bromide card to the bolt would let you know which wrestler the material belonged to.  Nowadays, printing technology allows the wrestlers' names to be printed into the actual material pattern, rendering the bromide card unnecessary.  In the 1960s, they not only did this for sumo wrestlers, but other stars as well.  I've seen these cards before, but have not paid serious attention to them until recently.  Having a bolt of the material in hand, as well as the card, is a cool piece of history and a great collectible.  I definitely am hooked...fellow sumo card collector, Paul F., is partially to thank for that!  I have not decided how I am going to categorize them in the 5th edition of my I give them their own category or do I include them in the BB-series (Black and White Bromide) category?  I have some time to think about it and try to uncover additional cards to see how many are out there.
Here are two bolts I won in the same auction.  I haven't unrolled them (and don't plan on it), but they are probably around 30 feet in length.  You can see them folded up here.  The material and card on the right are Ozeki Tochihikari....the material on the left is attributed to an unknown wrestler.

Here is the inside of the first fold.  You can see the round Tokyo Yukata seal at the bottom.  One of the neat things about Tochihikari's is an attachment for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.  I haven't translated that yet to see what it says exactly.

An end on shot here of the bolts....there is a lot of material there!

Thanks to Paul F. for this picture....a bolt that was sold on eBay of Yokozuna Taiho.  You can see the similarity in all the cloth patterns making the bromide very useful and important.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope I am able to share more of these in the future.

Monday, January 22, 2018

1992 BBM Sumo World Cards

After 18+ years of collecting sumo cards, new and amazing items keep surfacing that I have to have.  This 18-card set came stapled in the center of the 30 June 1992 magazine supplement to Sumo World (相撲界)magazine which was published by BBM.  These cards came in a sheet of 18 cards folded down the middle and are meant to be cut out individually by the buyer.  It is a very interesting set as it shows Akebono as a Sekiwake, but the magazine covers the announcement of his promotion to Ozeki.  There was a span of about 9 months during this time where there were no Yokozuna, but Akebono would soon blow through the Ozeki rank to achieve the highest rank the following year.  It also shows the extremely popular Hanada brothers who still had their original shikona of Takahanada & Wakahanada.  Not all of the Maegashira ranks are included in this set so I suspect there might be additional cards, or BBM only printed the most popular wrestlers.  The cards are about the same size as standard trading cards.

Even though this set came in a magazine, I will catalog it in the BBM section of the 5th Edition of the Sumo Menko and Card Checklist.

Here is the checklist:

1 - Ozeki Konishiki (Here is a great interview by John Gunning of Inside Sport)
2 - Ozeki Kirishima
3 - Sekiwake Tochinowaka
4 - Sekiwake Akebono
5 - Komusubi Akinoshima
6 - Komusubi Mitoizumi
7 - Komusubi Kotonishiki
8 - Komusubi Musashimaru
9 - Maegashira Terao
10 - Maegashira Takahanada
11 - Maegashira Takatoriki
12 - Maegashira Kyokudozan
13 - Maegashira Wakahanada
14 - Maegashira Mainoumi
15 - Maegashira Wakanoyama
16 - Maegashira Kotonowaka
17 - Maegashira Tokitsunada
18 - Juryo Genkai

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 19, 2018

1981 Japanese Nameneko "Perlorian" Cat Cards

I posted this over at A Pack To Be Named Later as well since it was so fun. 

What the heck?  Like a train wreck, it is hard to divert your eyes.  These are Japanese cat cards from 1981.   Both Fuji and Billy have done write ups as well on similar cards.  The idea started in Japan in the early 1980s and is known as Nameneko (Licking Cat) which Topps carried over to the States in 1983.  This is a taba pack from Japan with 30 different card envelopes attached.  This particular set seems to be called (マスコット).  Typically taba packs are hung from the ceiling in candy shops with the envelopes being sold on an individual basis for a few yen.  You would pay and pull off an envelope from the pack.  If you happen to get a "winner" card, it entitled you to another pull or other prize the shop owner had available.  This taba pack still has its 30 individual envelopes.  Can I resist and pull only one envelope to see what cards are inside?  Grab a can of Asahi Super Dry and some Tylenol as this could be painful.....

I think the left picture depicts a high school cat being too-cool-for-school.  It looks like the back of this taba pack had a sample card affixed, but someone stole it.  Dang cat burglars......  You can see the string that is used to hang the pack from the ceiling.

Here is one of the envelopes I pulled.  I couldn't resist and pulled three of them.   A cool cat along with his high school girlfriend? in her school-girl outfit.  Back in the 1980s, that skirt went down to the they barely reach mid-thigh.  I love the sunglasses and Walkman-type radio.

Oh boy, a great shot of the girlfriend? waving her boyfriend off to school.  Your eyes do not deceive you, that cat is getting ready to light up.  I doubt you will see that image in the 1983 Topps set.  I have to pull another envelope...>> '/\' <<

Here is the ID card of "Tanaka- the Family Cat".  Does your family know you are messing around with a chain-smoking tabby?  Alright, one more.....

The Japanese equivalent of the "Benjamin"....making it rain!

Two of the three cards have this for the back.  I'll have to look around to see if any of these Nameneko sets are checklisted.  Maybe this is the New Looks set.  I'll have to poke around to see if there are additional sets.

These cards are slightly smaller than a standard trading card and have a laminate covering.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

2017-18 BBM Basketball B.League - 2nd Half - 20 February 2018!

Barely a month after the 1st Half was announced, BBM announced that the 2nd Half of the B.League set will release on 20 February.  It looks to follow the same design as the 1st Half and will include cards and autographs from the rest of the team members that weren't captured in the 1st Half.  Here is the box art as well as some images of the autographs and inserts.  There will be 20 packs per box with a retail price of 8000 yen.  All images are courtesy of BBM's website,

Monday, January 15, 2018

Yuta Tabuse Collection Update #3

Boom, I'm getting off to an early start on expanding my Yuta Tabuse collection.  I picked these three cards up at a local card store this past week.  I was the first customer in a while to look through their singles....COMC really has had an affect on your local brick-and-mortar stores selling singles.  I was glad to take these off their hand and they were happy to unload them.

Up first is Yuta's 2004 Bazooka #217.  Nothing fancy here, but a solid base card.

Next up is Yuta's 2004 Topps Pristine #116.  Another solid base card.

Last is a pretty neat card.. It's Yuta's Upper Deck Trilogy #140- Rookie Premiere Crystal/Level 2 #671/999.  It doesn't look like The Trading Card Database has this Level 2 set in there.  Maybe I'll go see if I can add it.  Billy, any thoughts on this one?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sumo Cat Menko and Pins - by Lynn Chang

Several months ago artist Lynn Chang reached out to me to see if I could help her with designs for her sumo cat pin collection.  Click here for the review.  She ended up producing pins and the card backs after getting enough commitment on Indiegogo. She sent me some of the pins and I was definitely impressed by what she ended up coming up with.  The backs of the pins even have her name engraved on them and as a bonus she initialed in gold ink all the menko cards too.  Cool touch!  Thanks to all the fellow supports that contributed and helped Lynn reach her goal.  I really appreciate and enjoy independent artists and am glad that this project turned out great.  I hope to see more of Lynn's work in the future!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2017-18 BBM Japanese Basketball B.League Cards - First Look at Autos & Game Changers

Next week sometime, BBM should be releasing their much anticipated B.League basketball set - 1st Half.  Last year's release was a huge success and boxes were quickly snatched up.  Today, BBM ( released images of their Game Changers insert set as well as a few of their auto cards.  This year there will be horizontal and vertical types of the autographs.  I personally think the vertical auto cards look pretty cool.  I have a few boxes ordered and I'll likely be picking up a few loose packs to send out in care packages to my fellow collectors.  The below images are courtesy of BBM's website.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2018 BBM Japanese Sumo Cards - Box Art and Auto Checklist

Here is a 13-minute box break by BBM

Next week the 2018 BBM Sumo Cards should hit the shelves of your Japanese Card Shop or online business.  Here is the box art courtesy of BBM's website (  I have my boxes ordered and am eagerly waiting their arrival.  There are 9 autographs in the set and here are the 9 card images, again courtesy of BBM's website (  I think they look pretty sharp.  The only downside is that the autographs are on stickers.

Komosubi Onosho

Maegashira Aminishiki

Maegashira Okinoumi

Sekiwake Yoshikaze

Maegashira Takakeisho

Sekiwake Mitakeumi

Juryo Sokokurai

Maegashira Hokutofuji

Ozeki Takayasu