Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Hello and welcome to my blog about Japanese Baseball Cards. I've been collecting Japanese Baseball Cards for a few years now and I've been looking for an English language web site that can be a guide to what's out there. While I've found much useful information out there, I haven't found any place that can consistently tell me what something is or what new products are coming out. So I decided to take a crack at it myself with this blog.

A little about myself - I'm a computer programmer in the Baltimore area. I've been collecting baseball cards off and on for over 30 years now. I used to be heavily into minor league cards, but I grew tired of the "chasing the hot prospect" treadmill. I started seriously collecting Japanese cards in late 2000 (just before Ichiro signed with the Mariners) and pretty much stopped collecting anything else soon afterward. (BTW - when I talk about Japanese Baseball Cards, I am referring to cards for Nippon Professional Baseball, not for cards for Major League Baseball produced in Japan.)

I came up with a FAQ for the blog which I will list here (and sidestep the question of how there came to be frequently asked questions for the first post of a new blog...)

1. Who died and made you the expert on Japanese Baseball Cards?
I would not describe myself as an expert. I'm just a collector who's willing to share some knowledge. Hopefully, someone will find it useful.

2. Do you speak/read Japanese?
I can't read or speak Japanese. I would love to learn to, but with a family and a job (not to mention an hour commute each way to that job), I don't have time. Maybe someday.

3. Who are you a fan of?
I'm a fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Chunichi Dragons. And yes, I've really enjoyed this fall.

4. What can you tell me about some topic in Japan?
Probably not a whole lot. I've never been to Japan and I don't profess to know or understand a lot about Japanese culture. I grew up watching the Ultraman; Speed Racer; Kimba, The White Lion and Star Blazers TV shows as well as Godzilla and Gamera movies, but I don't think that that really helps much.

5. You do know that Star Blazers is really Space Battleship Yamato, don't you?

6. Where do you buy your cards?
From three of the sites listed on the side -
Yakyu Shop, Rob's Japanese Cards, and Prestige Collectibles as well as eBay. (And for full disclosure - I'm planning on becoming an affiliate for Yakyu Shop so I'll have a vested interest in sending business that way.)

7. What are you going to blog about?
Like every one else who blogs, whatever I feel like. I'd like to be informative about what cards are out there for players who are coming to the majors from Japan as well as what new cards are out. I'll probably do a few posts talking about the different card companies and their histories. There are already blogs that do a much better job than I would talking about things happening in Japanese baseball itself, so I'll probably not post much on those topics unless I have some cards that relate somehow. Or I just feel like it.


Anonymous said...

Can you provide us some information on the 1993 Tomy ID set? I believe that there are two series and one of the series is harder to find that the other one. Also, I know that some of the cards are signed by the players.

NPB Card Guy said...

I'll try to get a post up on the 1993 Tomy set in the next week or so. The short answer is that the set has around 450 cards - I don't think it was issued in series, but there appears to have been multiple print runs done (based on a serial number on the back of the cards). I don't believe that there were any signed inserts.

Anonymous said...


Do you have any additional information on the 2003 Top Foods Hanshin Tigers Championship cards on page 370 of Engel's price guide? Any idea of how many of these cards were manufactured?

I was able to pick up the #13 Keiichi Yabu and #19 Kei Igawa cards.

These cards kind of remind me of the old tobacco type baseball cards.

Thanks again,

NPB Card Guy said...

Sorry, I don't have any more information about these. I think there are more sets than what's listed here because I have a similar card that's not from this set.

Unknown said...

My name is Martin. I am also a Japanese baseball card collector, especially Calbee cards from the 80's. Which cards are you collecting?
Greetings from the Netherlands, Martin

NPB Card Guy said...

Hi Martin. Mostly I'm collecting the latest BBM cards, but I always like getting pre-1991 Calbee cards. I also really like the late 70's Yamakatsu cards (which I've been needing to do a post on since I started this blog...)

Unknown said...

Hi, great website you got here! Like you, I am also a Red Sox and Dragons fan... although it was really hard to be a Red Sox fan last year.

I recently started collecting BBM Japanese baseball cards when my girlfriend bought me 2 boxes (2012 Version 1 and Version 2) for Christmas. A humble start by any measure, but still very fun!

I was wondering if you trade cards. If not, is there a place you could direct me to where trades do happen or a forum where it is discussed? Any help would be great.


NPB Card Guy said...

Hi Bryan! Glad you like the blog. Yeah, it was a painful year to be a Red Sox fan last year but memories of '04 and '07 make it easier to deal with a bad year then when they had bad years before 2004.

I don't know of any where that there's a forum to trade Japanese cards. I tried to start a swap meet of sorts here, but it didn't seem to take off. Maybe I should give it a couple more tries.

I do trade cards but as I've been mostly buying complete sets for the past six years, I really don't have many cards later than 2006 for trade.

Unknown said...

Absolutely painful for Sox fans. At least the Dragons' season and post-season made the Red Sox failure a little more bearable. I thought for sure the Dragons were going to go all the way when they took the first 3 games of the Final Stage against the Giants. I was actually at the first playoff game for the Dragons at Nagoya Dome on October 13th. A great 6-1 win!

Yeah, doing some kind of "swap meet" forum on your site would be very cool. That sounds like a great idea if you ever get around to doing it.

That's interesting... how do you buy complete sets? Who sells them as complete sets? It seems I only ever see cards sold as sealed random packs.


NPB Card Guy said...

You know, even when the Dragons were up 3-0 (well 3-1 really) I still didn't think they were going to win. I'm still mad about Ochiai being canned and I'm still not impressed with Takagi. I think last year's success was mainly due to what Ochiai did with the team and I'm not optimistic for this year.

I used to buy complete sets from Rob Fitts. I'm getting them now from someone that I met through eBay. I finally added the page to the blog that talks about where to find Japanese baseball cards so hopefully that will be helpful to you.

Unknown said...

Awesome. Thanks.

David Saba said...

Hi NPB Card Guy,

I am a huge fan of NPB baseball and I’m trying to put together BGS 9.5/PSA 10 examples of key NPB Rookie Cards and I’ve managed to acquire the following cards:

Ichiro Suzuki: 1993 BBM #239 (PSA 10)
Hideki Matsui: 1993 BBM #423 (BGS 9.5)
Yu Darvish: 2005 BBM #116 (BGS 9.5)
Daisuke Matsuzaka: 1999 BBM #413 (BGS 10)
Akinori Iwamura: 1997 BBM #502 (BGS 9.5)

I am currently looking for the following cards graded BGS 9.5/PSA 10:

Hideo Nomo: 1990 Takara Kintetsu Buffaloes #11
Hiroki Kuroda: 1997 BBM #496
Masahiro Tanaka: 2007 BBM #211
Takashi Saito: 1992 BBM #471
Koji Uehara: 1999 BBM #329
Hideki Okajima: 1994 BBM #483
Akinori Otsuka: 1997 BBM #462
Tadahito Iguchi: 1997 BBM #477
Hisashi Iwakuma: 2000 BBM #388
Norichika Aoki: 2004 BBM #308
Kenji Johjima: 1995 BBM #558
Kazuo Matsui: 1994 BBM #506
Kosuke Fukudome: 1999 BBM #310
Kazuhiro Sasaki: 1991 BBM #196

Please let me know if you or someone you might know has these cards graded BGS 9.5/PSA 10 and is willing to sell. I’m also interested in purchasing gem mint ungraded cards that I can send in to BGS myself. Thanks so much, love your site!

David Saba

NPB Card Guy said...

I would recommend talking to Scott Kaneko (scottkaneko@yahoo.com) and see if he can help you out with the graded cards.

I may have an Iwakuma kicking around here but I couldn't tell you if it was "gem mint" or not - I'm not that interested in graded cards myself.

SumoMenkoMan said...

Just wanted to drop a line to say that you and a few other Japanese Baseball Card guys have inspired me to start a blog on Japanese Sumo Wrestling Menko and Cards.


Thanks again for the great content on this blog and looking forward to chatting more.