During the beginning of this growth phase, in the 1950-60s, discretionary spending was still modest in most households. Staples of kids' culture were weekly magazines (and their marvelous furoku), cheap toys from candy shops, menkos (small round or rectangular cards), and so on. This was before the boom in vinyl toys, and one of the main materials used for kids' goods was good old-fashioned paper.
These days, one sometimes comes across beautiful old ephemera with striking colors and subject matter. Some of it has survived half a century in marvelous condition. Here are some pieces I've come across.
Baseball Autograph Books/Scoring Cards
These little books have ballplayers on the cover. On the top, the Japanese says "sign books," so I guess they're for collecting autographs. On the inside, there are some blank pages (maybe for players' signatures), pages with baseball action images, and charts for keeping score. I like them for the cool illustrations and colors.
|The backs have score cards and a place where you can write your name.|
|Here's a closeup showing Osita-san. I'm not up on my Japanese baseball history, so I'm afraid I don't know anything about these players.|
Image transfer sheets
|Inside are little flower-covered pieces of paper. I believe these are transfer sheets, where the image would be transferred to a sheet of paper.|
|From the back you can see how thin the paper is.|
|Interestingly, images of Western children were (and still are) often used on products and advertising.|
|Very bizarre combination of circus and space imagery. I like it.|
|Funky octopus balloon! Imagine the lyrics Paul and John could have written for this one...|
|Thanks for joining our ephemeral party!|