There's a guy on Twitter named George Bennett who periodically tweets out photos of "carpets o'cards" - a group of baseball cards laid out that share some sort of theme. He did one a while back with all the 500 home run hitters from MLB arranged by the number of at bats it took them to reach the milestone. I was inspired to emulate him with all the 500 home run hitters from NPB. I arranged them in chronological order of them reaching the milestone though, mostly because I wasn't sure I could find the at bat totals.
I wanted to use a card from the same year that the player hit home run number 500 but that wasn't possible in the case of Katsuya Nomura and Sadaharu Oh as I don't have any cards from 1971 or 1972 respectively (there's a dry period in Japanese baseball card history between the end of menko in 1964 and the start of Calbee in 1973 where there were very few cards published). And I have to admit to being surprised that Nomura reached 500 home runs before Oh did. I don't think Oh passed Nomura for the career home run lead until 1973 or 1974.
Here's each card along with the date the player got his 500th home run:
Katsuya Nomura, July 2, 1971
|1975/76/77 Calbee #1113|
Sadaharu Oh, June 6, 1972
|1973 Calbee #7|
Isao Harimoto, September 28, 1980
|1980 Yamakatsu JY12|
Koji Yamamoto, July 26, 1985
|1985 Calbee #192|
Sachio Kinugasa, August 11, 1987
|1987 Play Ball #9|
Hiromitsu Kadota, August 15, 1989
|1989 Lotte #40|
Hiromitsu Ochiai, July 3, 1996
|1996 BBM #318|
Kazuhiro Kiyohara, April 29, 2005
|2005 Calbee #049|
Hideki Matsui, July 20, 2011
|2011 BBM Hometown Heroes #013|
Matsui's total includes the 332 home runs he hit in Japan and the 175 he hit in MLB. He was playing for the Oakland Athletics when he hit #500 but I'm showing him in a Yomiuri uniform on a card issued in 2011 (or at least with a cover date of 2011 - the set was actually released in late 2010).