Monday, October 3, 2016

1950s Baseball Menko are Neat

 I noticed the other day that I have been blogging about Japanese baseball cards for 3 years now without once having done a post about the most charming type of Japanese baseball cards: menko.  So I thought this would be a good time to remedy that oversight.

I love vintage menko, they are so colorful and child-like it is hard not to be charmed by them.  They are also one of those things that clearly distinguish the history of Japanese baseball cards from that of cards in the United States where no similar item ever existed. 

While most of them are rectangular and look a bit like baseball cards, some are given unique shapes (especially the beautiful early sumo cards). 

This particular set is the favorite of my current collection.  It dates from the 1950s and features likenesses of some of the top players of the era (from top left: Betto, Sugiura, Noguchi, Aoda, Beshho, Kawakami, Uchihori, Doi, Chiba and Yamamoto). 
The artwork is extremely crude but in a really appealing way - the players are easily recognizable and their uniforms are so colorful - look at Kaoru Betto`s Tigers uniform and tell me you don`t think those stripes are awesome!


  1. The artwork of the 1940s and 1950s menko is so original. Some of it is crude, but some more professionally done. That is a cool die-cut set for sure.

    1. Yeah, its the originality that I like - you don`t see many cards with such a variety of artwork like that (even if crudely done in some cases!).