Back in July, I featured a collection of seven Superman Menko cards from a company named Kagome Gangu. Here are seven more Menko cards from another manufacturer or series. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out who made these.
Menko is a Japanese social gambling game for children played with heavy cardboard cards; it’s a clear forerunner to pogs. The object: to flip or knock the other player’s card over, or knock it out of the ring like in a sumo match. (More on the rules here.) Flipping a card over means you get to keep it. The printing on the reverse allowed for additional games to be played, like rock/paper/scissors, making these truly multi-purpose toys. These colorful cards were printed in a variety of subjects, including sumo wrestlers, samurai, baseball players, movie stars, and cartoon characters. Some were even available with die cut shapes.
The seven Superman menko pictured above appear to be from the same series; they were sold to me as being c. 1950s, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were later. As a non-Japanese speaker, I really can’t tell you much of what’s going on. I recognized the headings as saying Superman, but that’s about it. The backs of this series of Menko are all blank.
Menko cards are some of my favorites in my collection because of their exotic appeal and relative rarity in the United States. I also love their highly graphic and colorful off-model art, crude printing, and sometimes strange international interpretation of Superman. It’s hard not to like a pink-uniformed Superman wearing a space helmet being attacked by an alligator.
Have any of these for sale? Please contact me!
For additional information on Menko, visit the excellent site Sumo Menko.