Thursday, February 22, 2024

2023 Topps Samurai Japan Set

Last spring Topps put a set of cards for the World Baseball Classic Champion Samurai Japan on sale on their Japanese website.  If you were in Japan, the set cost 7700 yen but the shipping was free but if you were in the US, the set was "only" 7000 yen (the 700 is the VAT for Japanese citizens) but shipping was 3900 yen.  While I had ordered the Topps Now cards and set for the friendly matches against Australia in November of 2022 directly from Topps, I decided to ask Ryan to order this set for me.  As a result, of course, I didn't get the set until last week.  

The set contained 36 total cards - the 33 card base set and three random parallels or other cards.  There were eight different types of parallels available - "Rainbow" (unnumbered), "Cherry Blossom" (/150), "Blue" (/88), "Green" (/77), "Purple" (/25), "Yellow" (/10), "Red" (/7) and "Gold" (1 of 1).  The other possible inserts were two different Ichiro cards (one for the 2006 WBC team and the other for the 2009 team) and a game used relic of some sort for Roki Ssaski that was numbered to 10.

The base set contains cards for all 31 members of the team along with manager Hideki Kuriyama.  There's also a team card showing the team hoisting the WBC trophy.  This is the only WBC cards for several players including Takuya Kai and Soichiro Yamazaki and the only Topps WBC cards for Yuki Matsui, Yuki Udagawa and Kuriyama.

The cards are OK.  I'm not a big fan of the design as I prefer borderless cards.  On the plus side, the photos are pretty good although I think Lars Nootbaar's photo was also used in the Topps 2 WBC Stars set.  All the text on the cards is in Japanese.  Here's some of the cards as examples:

#17 Shohei Ohtani

#28 Masataka Yoshida

#5 Soichiro Yamazaki

#18 Takumu Nakano

#15 Yuki Udagawa

#22 Yuhei Nakamura

#13 Hideki Kuriyama

I know this is going to come as a complete shock but Topps but very little effort into the backs of these cards.  I know, right?  What a surprise!  Every card has the same paragraph on the back of it along with the player's name.  Here's the back of Tetsuto Yamada's card:

And here's the Google translation of the text:

I got three parallel cards with my set.  Here they are:

#1 Team Card

31 Shosei Togoh

#19 Yoshinobu Yamamoto

As usual, you can see all the cards over at Jambalaya.


Fuji said...

Awesome set! Very cool of Ryan to help you add it to your collection.

By the way... are you interested in collecting Japanese players (in MLB uniforms)? I just recently organized my collection and have a ton of duplicates (like over 1,000). If there are any specific players you want, just let me know (shoot me an email) and I'll send them you way (no strings attached).

NPB Card Guy said...

Ryan has been a huge help to me over the last 10-12 years. I would not have the collection I have now without him.

Thanks for the generous offer but I don't collect MLB cards.