Thursday, July 30, 2020

1958 Japanese Baseball and Sumo Stamps - Nagashima and Wakanohana

The late 1950s had several multi-sport sets that captured some of the most popular sumo and baseball stars of the time. Hugely popular in the late 1950s in sumo wrestling was Yokozuna Wakanohana and in baseball, Shigeo Nagashima. Both of these athletes dominated newspapers, magazines, and the attention of young children. Included as free giveaways in the Shonen series of children's magazines in 1958, these stamps show a young Nagashima in his Giants uniform and a seasoned Wakanohana who had just been promoted to Yokozuna. Both of these individuals would rise to the some of the highest levels of respect within their sports and these stamps capture them as athletes striving to make names for themselves.  Now catalogued as the Z581: 1958 Shonen Sumo and Baseball Stamps, these extremely rare stamps are printed on thin paper and were meant to be licked and stuck onto something or inside something.  Thanks for stopping by and stay safe out there!


Monday, July 27, 2020

Making Time to Read - 1960s Japanese Sumo Wrestling Bookmark

These days, you'd think that I would have a lot more time to read....however, with the lines blurred between my work space and office space within the confines of my home I tend to spend a lot more time working which leaves a lot less time for reading.  I do love to read....magazines, manga, books, name it, one of my escapes is reading and if you can throw in a fireplace to sit in front of, I am in heaven.  The Japanese are avid readers as well and bookmarks are a staple for any Japanese kid.  In the 1950s and 1960s, bookmarks were often given away as promotional items inside monthly children's magazines as is the case with this bookmark below.  The Manga King (γΎγ‚“γŒηŽ‹)magazines were extremely popular from the early 1960s to 1970s and included this Yokozuna Wakanohana bookmark in a magazine from likely 1960 or 1961. This is the only one I have seen in almost two decades of collecting attesting to its rarity...much like the rarity in my reading time these days.

Stay safe out there and thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Making a Japanese Baseball/Sumo Wrestling Connection - 1959 Menko

Several days ago Sean over at Getting Back into Baseball Japan (BaseballCardsinJapan.blogspot), posted about a new menko find to the baseball community.  It is a new menko of the ever popular Shigeo Nagashima and up until this point had not been catalogued in the Japanese Baseball community.  In the sumo community, I have run across this set only a handful of times.  They are extremely rare and very hard to find since they were printed and sold at the tail end of the menko era when menko popularity was waning.  There is a plain, white-bordered version as well as an even more rare gold-bordered version in the sumo world.  I have catalogued this set as the 1959 Comic 9-10-11 (Catalogue #: M591-1 White Border and M591-2 Gold Border).  The back has the TV anime character "Moonlight Mask" which aired on Japanese television and in theaters in 1958 and 1959 which led me to believe this set was printed in 1959.  Up to this point, it seemed this was a sumo-only set, but what we might be seeing here is a multi-sport set.  And given there are gold-bordered versions, there is a good chance these were issued in boxes with the gold-bordered menko as prizes.  It is great when some of these new mysteries pop up and keep the older Japanese card collecting community on the hunt to try and continually answer some of these decade-old mysteries.

Have a great week!

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Ill-Fated 1958 Japanese Antarctic Expedition and Sumo Wrestling Cards

This Japanese sumo wrestling menko set captures a little-known piece of Japanese history from 1958.  Flash back two years before 1958 to 1956 and the Japanese had established their first research base in Antarctica to world exclaim and was a symbol of Japanese national pride.  When it came time for the replacement team to arrive in 1958, they were unable to get close enough to the research station and the team that was already there was forced to evacuate and abandon the station, but not before leaving behind 15 Sakhalian Husky sled dogs.  Leaving food for the dogs and thinking they would soon be back, the scientists evacuated by helicopter.  Unable to get back for entire year and assuming the dogs would all be dead, the returning scientists were shocked to learn that two of the dogs survived: Taro and Jiro.  These dogs became national heroes and were all over the news.  They eventually got their own stamps and several movies were made about the story!  Below is an actual picture of Jiro and Taro when they were found.  This 1958 menko set, however, was printed to celebrate the 1958 return expedition, before it turned ill fated and the dogs were abandoned.  There are many great-looking scenes from the expedition on the back of the menko that capture the imagination of any kid reading the magazine.  It is so rare that I have only ever seen one of them and don't even know which magazine it would have come out of.  As you can tell from the picture, these would have come as a sheet and each child would have had to cut out the menko individually.  Thanks for stopping by and letting me share a little piece of Japanese history!

Taro and Jiro greeted by the men from the 3rd Expedition that found them.  Photo courtesy of Dogs in History Blog.