The One about Collecting Japanese Baseball Cards

For Japanese baseball fans, you will more than likely run into many, may they be in Japan or outside of Japan, who are baseball card collectors. Personally, I have been a card collector for many years.

From MLB, NFL, NBA packs to comic book-related cards and different stages in my life.

Granted, a lot of my card buying days took place back in my younger years, as a child who would hope to get baseball cards featuring my favorite New York Yankees players. The last time I went full force in collecting cards was probably during the first “Dream Team” for the Barcelona Olympics in the early-90s.

But I have sporadically purchased baseball cards featuring New York Yankees players such as Derek Jeter or former players from the past, and integrating them into my collection.

But I personally got hooked into Japanese baseball cards after purchasing a pack of Yakult Swallows 2014 cards that were on sale at a shop. I was curious about how Japanese baseball cards differ from American baseball cards and surprisingly, the first pack I opened was an autographed card.

But I started to purchase more packs and learned a lot of things along the way. For one, chances of collecting a full set is not easy. You can buy a 100 packs and still not complete your set and if anything, you can often be left with a lot of extras. So, you literally need to be smart and if on a budget, order from a Proxy site such as KuboTEN for a complete set.

Granted, you won’t get the special cards, but you are able to complete the regular set.

If you care about price guides and also getting free swag, a cool magazine to purchase is the bi-monthly Sports Card Magazine. With each release, each publication includes a limited set of cards and some of them are awesome that you want to purchase the magazine. Also, because after each release, individual cards released with an issue are then sold on online auctions for a higher price.

When it comes to baseball cards, the more commercially available cards to find are BBM. They are equivalent to America’s Topps and release so many sets that you really
have to be decisive on which set to purchase.

Calbee, known for its snacks, are another long-time maker of baseball cards and often includes cards with potato chips.

Epoch is a company known for releasing full sets in a boxed package. Included in each set is a rare card but Epoch sets are great for those on a budget and want a complete run of regular cards.

And Bandai also makes Owners League which ties in with a game app for cell phones.

Here area few websites for those wanting to know what recent sets are being released by companies that specialize in Japanese sports cards: