That's not to say that no one in Japan ever made an attempt. Ralph Pearce had mentioned to me two Japanese publications that he had - one was called “Sports Cards Price Guide” that was published in 1996 and covered BBM, Calbee and Tomy I.D. cards from 1991 through 1995. The other was called "J. League & Professional Baseball Sports Card Perfect Catalogue" and was published in 1994. I recently picked up a copy of the latter guide.
I want to make a quick aside here about where I got the copy - Paul Margiott is one of what I call the "pioneers" of the American Japanese baseball card hobby. Among other things, he co-wrote the first two editions of the Guide we all now refer to as simply "Engel". I had bought a lot of the 1991 BBM set from him on Ebay back when I started collecting Japanese cards. He contacted me recently about a bunch of documents and publications that he was interested in selling. I bought a handful of items from him including this. I think he's planning on putting the remainder on Ebay but I don't know that for sure.
The section ends with a preview of the 1994 issues. Part 2 is a visual checklist of Calbee's J-League issues from 1987 to 1992. Part 3 looks like it's a visual history of Japanese baseball cards from 1946 to 1992. There's a page for each half decade that shows a variety of cards from that time period - menkos, bromides, Calbees, Nippon Ham, Mermaid Data, etc. It's not a comprehensive list of card, just pictures of cards. There's also a two page spread devoted to Shigeo Nagashima and Sadaharu Oh cards. Here's a couple pages including the page for the late 1960's showing a bunch of Kabaya-Leaf cards:
I'm not entirely certain what Part 4 is dedicated to but I think it has something to do with the history of Calbee. There's a couple pages of text that show example card backs of different Calbee Series from 1973 to 1979 along with a bunch of pictures of cards, wrappers and holders. There are also some non-Calbee items shown which is why I'm not positive what this section is. But the best part of this section is it has a visual checklist of the first Calbee set from 1973, all 91 cards:
The final section (Part 5) contains a "standard" card checklist and price guide, like you'd see in SCM today. There are checklists for Calbee baseball and J-League issues from 1986 to 1992, the 1989-90 Lotte sets, the BBM issues from 1991 to 1993 (including All Stars, Nippon Series and Tigers team set), and the 1993 Tomy set. It also includes vintage checklists (with no price guide) for the 1967 Kabaya-Leaf set, and the 1973 and 1977 Calbee sets (for 1977, it's just the "Grey Back Star Border" subset). Here's the Kabaya-Leaf checklist page:
I assume that the handwriting on the pages is Paul's. I'm guessing that this mook was one of many resources that was used to create the earliest versions of the Guide.
I do not know who put this publication out and I don't know why they never issued another one. I also don't know why certain card sets were ignored altogether - Takara, NST and Yamakatsu are all absent from the mook. But it's still a pretty cool publication.