Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Unknown Vintage Cards

I've picked up some odds and ends in vintage Japanese baseball cards off of Ebay in the last few months and I have no idea what some of the items are.  I thought I'd show them here and see if any of you have any idea (or can at least read the kanji on them).

First up is an uncut menko sheet showing four cards that appear to depict university teams - I recognize Waseda and Keio right off the bat.  This sheet is very similar to one shown on page 47 of "Sayanora Home Run!" - I've seen a larger sheet selling on Ebay that contained both the sheet I have and the one from the book so I'm pretty confident that they're from the same set.  The book lists the cards as being from the 1920's - if so, then these are the oldest cards I have.

I picked up five die-cut menko cards that also appear to me to depict university teams.  I'm not sure they actually depict a specific player - they kind of look to me like a caricature of a generic ball player.  The five cards appear to be from three separate sets.

Here's the front and backs of the first two that I think are from the same set:

The front of the uniform on the second card could be saying "Hosei" and the back of the cards appears to be showing the kanji for Hosei University.  I thought the "T" on the front of the uniform for the first card could stand for "Tokyo University" but I don't think the kanji on the back matches.

Here's the next two:

It might not be obvious because I think my scanner cut off a little at the top, but the hat on the first card has a "W" on it and the hat on the second card looks like it might have a "K" on it.  "W" immediately makes me think of Waseda but the kanji on the back doesn't appear to match.  On the plus side, the kanji on the second card does resemble the kanji on the Keio cards from the BBM Tokyo Big Six sets so maybe the "K" is Keio.

Last of the die-cuts:

No lettering on the hat or the uniform so I have no ideas on this one.

The next two cards are both rectangular "cartoon" menko cards of Dragons player Michio Nishizawa.  I got these in a single auction with another card of Nishizawa that I was able to place (it was from the JCM 56 - Red/Orange border set from 1949), so I suspect (for really no good reason) that these are from 1949 also:

The last card is a blank backed round menko card.  Like the die-cut menkos, it could be that this card shows a generic ball player rather than someone specific.  There isn't much identifiable on the hat or uniform - except maybe that's an "M" on the front of the hat.

I'd appreciate any help anyone can give me on these.


Unknown said...

My son does Judo in the Cupertino, CA area. I will try to print out the stuff and show some of the parents on Tuesday night. I am sure we can get some help from them.


NPB Card Guy said...

That would be great! Thanks!

I actually grew up in Cupertino in the 1970's.

Junichi said...

Here's what I can decipher.

1st picture:

top left - ceremonial 1st pitch (shikyu-shiki)

top right - Greetings (aisatsu)

bottom left - Waseda / Keio baseball match at Meiji Jingu baseball tournament

bottom right - Explaining the rules (rule tokutei)

2nd picture

top right - military flag (gun-ki)

bottom right - red cross (seki-jyu-ji)

top left - rakka-???

bottom left - 1st character is poison. Can't make out the rest

4th picture - Tai-yo-gun (sun team? Maybe related to Taiyo Whales?)

6th picture - Ho-sei university

8th picture - shinpan (umpire)

10th picture - Keio university

12th picture - Wakayama middle school. Also says strike on the bottom left

13th picture - Player Nishizawa of Chunichi

15th picture - Nishizawa

17th picture - Just says baseball in English and Japanese

Hope this helps somewhat.

NPB Card Guy said...

Thanks - that's great. I had wondered if that card was an umpire. I suspect the one card with a "T" is for something other than the Taiyo Whales but I could be wrong. I was thinking that it's a high school or college team.

I wonder if this is the Wakayama school.

Junichi said...

Looking at the history of the Taiyo Whales they were at one point called 太陽ロビンズ (taiyo robins) in 1947. Back then they referred to teams as 軍 (gun). Like 一軍 (ichigun). So it makes sense the card says 太陽軍 (taiyo-gun) referring to the Taiyo robins.

As for the other card it says えのけん和歌山中学校 (Enoken Wakayama middle school). I did a quick Google search but there is no such school by that name currently. Probably long gone.

Junichi said...

Figured out the 2nd picture top left. It says 落下傘 (parachute). The 3rd character was the old way of writing it so it stumped me for a bit. Still don't know what the bottom left says.

Junichi said...

Finally figured out the 2nd picture bottom left. It's 毒瓦斯 (doku-gas) which is poisonous gas. Shows you how the war effort trickled down all the way to kids toys.

NPB Card Guy said...

That's great - thanks! You may well be right on the Taiyo Robins. My biggest doubt about it is that Taiyo never had a uniform that looked like that. But it may simply be a caricature. It's also odd that that's the only one of these cards with "gun" on it - is that because they'd be the only professional team in the group of cards?

I wonder if there was some sort of game that the war terms on the second picture was used for. Kind of like the "rock-paper-scissor" symbols on the later cards.

Anonymous said...

It looks like someone was quicker to the information than me.


NPB Card Guy said...

Not to worry - I appreciate the thought.