The Page Writer Koji Shiwa reflects on the popularity of Kamen Rider collectible cards from 1971 to 1973.
Before the days of Pokemon GO and virtual reality, people experienced other ways to have fun. If you speak to men in their 50s, they can tell you about the early days of Kamen Rider, when collectible trading cards became popular among children.
What is this “Kamen Rider Card” that Children Went Crazy For?
The cards were included with a themed Kamen Rider snack from Calbee. They were released from 1971 to 1973. It was not inside the snack package, but rather when the child (or their parent) bought a Kamen Rider snack, the cashier would hand the child a packaged card separately. You didn’t know what the card was until you opened the envelope. It’s not a surprise that you’d often get doubles of a card, so you could trade it with friends and compete to see who would gather all the cards first.
Occassionally, monsters who did not yet debut on the Kamen Rider show would appear on the card.
I would say “Who is this? I guess it hasn’t come out yet!” I was excited to show it off to my friends. When Kamen Rider wasn’t on tv, it was being discussed among friends.
These cards exploded in popularity among the audience (mostly boys) at the time. In February 1972, it exceeded sales of 1 million bags sold per day, and 620 million bags within 15 months. On average, a child bought 85 bags.
The cards featured different images on the front. On the back of the card, there were different descriptions including monster biographies, song lyrics, etc. If you got a “Lucky Card”, you could mail it in to receive a special Kamen Rider card album. Whenever we heard a new card was out, we would rush to buy it. Kamen Rider cards were fun to collect and we desired to collect them all.
Problems Grow Over Discarded Snacks
Due to the boom, there was another issue. Snacks were going uneaten. Most children just wanted the card and threw away the snacks. It was so bad that people threw the snacks into the gutter. It became such a problem that newspapers were reporting on it. It was not uncommon for teachers at schools to say “Don’t throw away your Kamen Rider snacks”.
I was older at the time, so I saved up all my money and bought an entire box of snacks. These snacks couldn’t be thrown away at school and now they were monitoring it. Luckily, my grandmother thought the snacks were delicious, so I have them all to her. My great-grandmother always wanted me to eat more snacks. I have a childhood memory where I had to tell her “I can’t eat anymore”.
Because they are such historical items, the cards have been reprinted many times. The reprints state “1990” and the originals usually head to auctions. The rare cards can be sold for a considerably high cost.
Even though this trend had ended, there is always something new that children want to collect. Even if things have changed to be digital, the human interest to collect things haven’t changed much.
Article Sources: The Page