Fitts: An introduction to Japanese baseball cards

From SABR member Rob Fitts at on August 6, 2019:

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, or in the menu bar at the top of the page, will bring to to a separate page for each era.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 7, 2019. Last Updated: August 7, 2019.