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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Japanese Menko UPDATE: JCM 2: 1948 Baseball Back

 Set size: 19+ cards (10 baseball), 1-1/2" x 2-3/8"

Front Design: A color cartoon depicting actual players or a generic team member is on the front, with Japanese text identifying the player and/or the team.

Back Design: The blue ink backs have a solid baseball with three crossed bats behind it, containing a mitt, trophy, and the words "BASE BALL". A menko number (math equation) is in a rectangular box at the bottom.

Parallels and Similars: This menko is easily distinguished from other menko issues by the large blue baseball and text on the back.

Distribution: It's unknown how these menko were distributed, but most menko were packaged in hanging bags, usually sold in uncut sheets of 2, 4, or larger. Most cards were hand-cut by someone along the way - the manufacturers, shop owners, or collectors.

Thoughts: These are wonderful, colorful cards. There will be many more to come. I have a record of 178 unique menko sets, and while I'm in Japan I hope I'm able to acquire and show most of them to you. This particular issue is not really scarce, other than a few cards. Using the math equations on the back, I'm able to determine that the card with the 7521x10 menko is either Testuharu Kawakami or Michinori Tsubouchi, while the other menko (6465x39) is either Torao Ooka or a generic Kyuei player (my guess: it's the generic player). It's always good to have a bit more information on the unknown cards in my collection! (And, 1 menko set down, 177 to go!) The set is given the designation JCM 2 (similar to T for tobacco/etc) which means to me: Japanese Classic (rectangular) Menko.

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