Thursday, September 5, 2019

Weird and Disappointing Packs: 1976 Mitsuya

I made another impulse purchase on Yahoo Auctions.  I'm way over budget and need to stop.  But these things keep popping up and I can't.

There was a whole unopened box of 1976 Mitsuya Cider baseball menko (JRM 10) up for sale, how could I not put a bid on it?  Look how pretty they are, wouldn't you bid too? Even if, like me, you didn't really know what they are until you saw them for sale?

Anyway, now they are in my house.  

This is actually the weirdest, and most disappointing, unopened box I've ever gotten.  As the box top (which is pretty cool) says, it has 60 packs which were sold for 10 Yen each back in the day:
So far so good.  And take the lid off and you see a bunch of packs of menko wrapped in clear cellophane, each holding 8 cards.  
Wow, look at how exciting those look!  So colorful and what a variety of players!  No problems at all, I am totally satisfied with this purchase!!

But wait.  Lets pick up one of the packs and then.....things get real weird real fast.  Let me demonstrate by picking up this pack with Masaji Hiramatsu visible on the front.
Notice anything odd?  Like how every single one of the menko in that pack is the same color?  That is because they are all the same: 1 pack with 8 Masaji Hiramatsu cards in it!

I looked through every one and they are all the same: each pack contains 8 of the same card!  And I have many packs with the same player (5 Senichi Hoshino packs for example means I now own 40 1976 Mitsuya Cider Senichi Hoshino cards).

These are all the packs:
I note that this is a really small set: there are only 22 cards in it.  This box has 464 cards from that set in it.  But I can't make a single set!  The 22 cards seem to have been issued in two series, and this one only has one of those in it.  So I have 464 copies of 11 different cards!

This turned out to be way less fun than I thought it would be when I opened the box.

Also, one of the packs isn't even a baseball card its.....whoever this is:
Hope he is good, because I now have 24 of him.

This whole thing is just bizarre on so many levels (welcome to Japan....)  I mean, what kid in their right mind would have bought these back in the day?  Its not even hidden that each pack has 8 of the same card, you can plainly see it when you hold one up.

Mitsuya issued a few baseball menko sets like this in 1976 and, being new to the biz, I guess they just weren't very good at it (hence them only lasting the one year).  I mean, how hard would it have been to put 8 different cards in one pack???

So yeah.  This is now mine.  And I'm having some buyer's remorse, though fortunately it didn't cost me too much.


  1. Replies
    1. I totally agree, I love these cards as cards. But not the way they were distributed!

  2. Bummer.. I wonder if they were somehow a repack? meaning there should have been the whole set distributed across 60 packs....but to have 8 cards in the same pack is very odd. Although, mid-1950s Japanese menko were issued the same way. 4-5 of the same wrestler in each of the packs. It is weird for sure.

    1. They don't look like a repack though, it all looks contemporary. Maybe if you were a kid playing menko, you wanted to have a lot of cards of your favorite player? Then your friends would have a lot of cards of their favorite players and as you played each other, you would gradually win the cards of your friends and thus build up your collection?

      This is a stretch, but all I could come up with....

  3. You just need to find the other series box... and you'll end up with a ton of extra sets. Gotta say... these discs are beautiful!

    1. But that would mean buying more doubles!!!

      I do agree, they are beautiful (which is why I bougth them!)

  4. "I'm way over budget and need to stop"... said at least once by every collector ever! And I don't know who that last character is, but he sure is neat looking.