Sunday, October 15, 2017

1981 Daichi Pharmaceutical Calendar Card - Ozeki Chiyonofuji

I don't often come across cards or ephemera that have sumo wrestlers advertising commercial products.  There just weren't that many that I know of and not a whole heck of lot of wrestlers were using their likeness to promote products.  When I came across this card issued by Daichi Pharmaceuticals, I knew it was something I needed to pick up.  For ¥100, it made it an even better fact, I paid many times more in fees and shipping than the actual card itself. 

This card was issued right in the middle of 1981 when Chiyonofuji was on the brink of promotion to the rank of Yokozuna.  He was the hottest thing in sumo and would carry the sport throughout the 1980s until the Hanada brothers took the reigns in the early 1990s.  It appears this particular card was issued with a product call Patex, a compression support of ankles, elbows, and other joints...hence the fact that Daichi issued it.  The back has a 6-month calendar from September 1981-February interesting calendar span.  I've done other searches for additional cards, but it appears this is the only card.

I'll get this inserted into the next edition of my book.  Not sure what I'll categorize it as yet.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sumo World Magazine Archive List

Some may noticed a new tab in the upper right corner of this blog.  In a new...and hopefully fairly quick project....I am scanning the covers and documenting the content of as many Sumo World Magazines as possible.  This English-Language magazine was the go-to publication for decades until just recently.  The editor and publisher of the magazine finally wasn't able to keep up with the print demand, but it is still available electronically on your Kindle.

I have a decent collection starting in 1973 going into the early 2000s and have been scouring the internet for online references to the magazine.  There are surprisingly very few references out there, although at one time there were several sites that supposedly contained good information.  Sadly, those websites no longer exist and I am hoping to at least bring a bit of that nostalgia back here on this blog.  This magazine have a huge array of information available for those that don't read Japanese and the older issues have a lot of historical pieces that are priceless for English readers.  For those that might find a column title interesting in a particular issue, or are doing any research, please give me a holler as I might be able to help.  Enjoy browsing the cover art once this resource is completely up and running.  Here are just a few to whet your appetite...

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The World According to Byamba

Byamba entered the world of professional Japanese sumo with the rush of other Mongolian wrestlers in the early 2000s.  One of the greatest rikishi of all time is the Mongolian Yokozuna Hakuho who has sat on the top of the sumo world for the better part of a decade now.  Byamba (His shikona was Daishochi when he was in the Nihon Sumo Association) seemed destined for similar success, but was sidelined by an injury right before he broke into the top ranks and retired soon after.  After he retired from professional sumo, he turned to amateur status and won two Sumo World Championships in the heavyweight class as well as Gold in the 2009 World Games.  In 2013, Topps captured Byamba in their Allen and Ginter's "The World's Champions" set.  From what I gather there at ~10 different types of cards of Byamba in this set:

Regular Red Back #/25
Mini Wood #1/1
Mini Relic
Mini Auto
Mini Auto Red Ink #/10
Black, Cyan, Magenta Printing Plates

Good stuff.  I am hoping to slowly add more of these to my collection over the years.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

35mm Film Slides - Collectibles, Cards, or Crazy? --1963 Sumo Wrestling--

We've all heard, or maybe even experienced, the agony of being invited over to a friend's or family member's house for the dreaded minute-by-minute pictorial walk through of someone else's vacation.  A fancy 35mm slide projector was set up and everyone would gather around as the vacation was described and broadcast in painstaking detail.  I was never subjected this torture, but recently I stumbled across a set of 35mm slides produced by the Nippon Bunka Film Co in 1963.  These were mass produced and sold as souvenirs to tourists and I guess you wouldn't have to take your own pictures and have them processed at the local store saving you a bunch of time.  This particular auction lot had 15 different boxes of various Japanese topics including Japanese sumo wrestling.  In each of these boxes is 10 35mm slides related to the box topic.

This series was marketed for English-speaking tourists as each box contained an English-language brochure highlighting all the different series (works) you could buy.  Additionally, there is a small booklet that describes each of the 10 slides in the box written in both English and Japanese.

Anyone have any crazy slide stories?

And the big question....should these be collectibles in the sports card arena or am I just plain crazy?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1961 Maruta Sumo Menko (BC612) - Tsunkoro Daisuke TV Drama

From 1961, Fuji Television aired a showed about a young boy from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and his trials and tribulations trying to make it big in the world of sumo.  The show was somewhat popular in part fueled by the guest appearances from actual sumo wrestlers.  Capitalizing on the success of the show, Maruta produced a set of BC-series menko depicting various scenes from the show and what appears to be some behind the scenes views.  It is unknown how many of these menko there are, but likely somewhere around 32....needless to say they are extremely difficult to find.  I have accumulated 3 over the years and fortunately have one of Yokozuna Wakanohana (left side below).  Menkonohako has some great images of more of the menko including the one below of Daisuke getting some encouragement from his stablemaster.  There were manga printed to accompany the show as well.  I'd love to land a full set of these someday!

Image courtesy of

Sunday, September 10, 2017

New Sumo Wrestling Menko Card Set / 1938 Rikishi 7 (R388)

Tomorrow is the 16th Anniversary of the terror attacks on 11 September, 2001.  It is difficult to fathom how quickly the time seemed to go, but it is one of those world-changing events that we'll all be telling our kids and grandkids about for the rest of our lives.  I hope everyone is able to take a moment of remembrance.

In a similar vain, the U.S. would official be thrust into World War II with the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.  Up until then, Japan was engaged in a brutal and horrific war all throughout the Pacific.  The war had permeated all throughout Japanese society and it is hard to imagine anyone in Japan not affected by it in some way or another.  I recently picked up this 1938 set and the war's stark reminder was boldly embellished on the kesho-mawashi of the wrestlers: a rising sun flag, bombers, fighters, cannons, and gas masks.  These are just a few of the reminders the wrestlers and Japanese society were faced with.  I am hoping to pick up more menko from this set.

As always, I find it amazing that these survived the war, the paper drives, and the post-war years fairly unscathed.  I was lucky enough to get them inserted into the 4th Edition of the Sumo Menko and Card Checklist right before printing and now the set is permanently documented for future generations.

Friday, September 1, 2017

First Good Year Blimp Trading Card - 1932 German Garbaty "Die Eroberung Der Lift" Set

The German card market has a wealth of cards that seem fairly undiscovered on the other side of the Atlantic.  This set is one of them in the fact that it contains the earliest known Good Year Blimp Card...the "Pilgrim."  While the Pilgrim wasn't the first blimp built by Good Year, it was the first to have the words Good Year printed on the side.  This 1932 German "Die Eroberung Der Lift" (The Conquest of the Air) set was the first to capture the iconic Good Year Blimp image on a card.  In fact, the only other cards I can find of the early Good Year blimps are postcards.  This set was made to collect and paste into an album which was typical of the German tobacco sets of this era.  Surprisingly, this small lot of cards I won at auction survived this pasting fate.  Köberich catalogues this set as the 20703-5 and it chronicles the history of human flight over 234 cards from mechanical wings on humans to passenger aircraft and blimps.  Each card measures approximately 2 7/17" x 1 9/16".

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Yuta Tabuse Collection Update #2

Before Japan's Basketball B League was formed last year through the merger of the NBL and bj leagues, Yuta Tabuse was a star for the NBL's Tochigi Brex.  Surprisingly, BBM did not jump on board with getting the NBL license to print cards so NBL had their own cards printed.  Here is a somewhat difficult 2015-2016 card to find of Yuta Tabuse in his NBL uniform.

Here is also some numbered goodness from 2004, an Upper Deck Rookie Sweet Shot Rookie card numbered 707/1250.

Preseason B League actions starts up here in another week with the Early Cup tournaments taking place.  The defending champions Tochigi Brex are playing in the Kanto tournament with five other 1st Division rivals, while the other twelve 1st Division teams are playing against each other and some of the 2nd Division Teams in 3 other tournaments around the country.  A pretty interesting is the schedule.

That is it for this evening.  Check out my 1997 Japanese Bandai K-1 MMA pack opening over at A Pack to Be Named Later.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Astronaut Neil Armstrong's "Rookie Card" - 1967 Heinerle Card

During a trip to a local vintage toy and model train store here in Germany, I picked up this partial set of 1967 German Kampf Um Den Weltraum (The Struggle for the Universe).  This set was made by Heinerle out of Bamberg, Germany.  The set walks the collector through the development of rockets and the NASA space program up through 1967.  Pictures are mostly of rockets, engineers, and cool space related images (I'm a space geek and I picked up some other German space sets as well that I'll highlight here in the near future.)

Koberich lists the catalog number of this set as the 30825-25 made in 1967 with a total of 190 cards in the set.  This set also as an English-language parallel set that is identical on the front except that the writing on the back is in English....and you can definitely tell it was not translated by an American.  Koberich doesn't mention this fact of an English language version so I am going to get a hold of him and ask if he knows anything more about it.

What is really unique about this set, though, is that it contains a trading card of Neil Armstrong....card #185.  It shows him with David Scott in their Gemini 8 spacesuits together in front of a satellite dish.  Interesting fact is the image is reversed on the card front so this is also an uncorrected error...maybe they corrected it later, which would make it that much cooler.  I did an internet search and could only find his 1969 Topps Man on the Moon card as being the earliest trading card known up to this point.  Anyone know of an earlier card of Armstrong?

There are some other great cards of other astronauts including Alan Sheppard, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee...not to mention the famous Werhner Von Braun on Card #35.  I only picked up a partial set so the full set likely has other cards of other famous astronauts.

Cards measure approximately 2 3/4" x 3 3/4"

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

1912 Daikokuya Postcards

I don't often collect sumo wrestling post cards since they typically are so expensive, but I pick some up every now and then.  This is a recent eBay pickup and I knew I had to get them as I have not seen this style before.  They are prints from hand-drawn originals and the quality is superb.  They are printed with vivid colored ink and have gold-gilt for some of the accents.  I am assuming the original artist's name is on the bottom right corner, but I can't decipher what it is.  The back is pretty typical for postcards of this era....The company name is Daikokuya which was in Tokyo's Ryogoku district.  I really hope I can end up finding more of these, but seeing as this is the first time I have seen this style in several decades it might be a while before I pick any others up.  The two are Ozeki Nishinoumi who went on to become the 25th Yokozuna....the right card is Kunimiyama who retired as an Ozeki after being plagued with a bunch of injuries.

Does anyone else out there like to collect postcards as part of their card collection?