Not too long
after Horace Wilson and other American teachers brought
baseball to Japan in the early 1870s, the Japanese produced
their first baseball card. It was a disk, about an
inch and a half in diameter, depicting a hand-drawn image of
a generic player. The cardboard disk, known as a menko,
was used in a popular Japanese flipping game that was
similar to the 1990s American fad game of pogs.
The popularity of
baseball cards grew with the game and soon Japanese children
could collect their favorite players on menko, postcards,
cheap paper photos called bromides, and other collectibles.
The history of
Japanese cards is best divided into six stages: Pre-World
War II, the Occupation, the late 1950s and early 1960s,
1965-72, 1973-1990, and 1991 to the present. The links
below will bring to to a separate page for each era.
are dozens of sports card shops across Japan, most specialize
in modern Japanese and American cards. Collecting
vintage baseball cards is not a common hobby in Japan.
Most of the collectors and dealers are located in the United
States. Vintage cards can be purchased at Japanese
flea markets, antique stores, and in on-line auctions.
If you wish to
purchase Japanese cards, please visit my web site Robs
Japanese Cards either on its home page or on Ebay, or the
other links to the left.