While we believe that this card was printed in the mid to late 1920s, the event depicted on the card is the Seattle Asahi Team Tour of Japan in September 1919. The banner in the lower right portion of the card has the English notation "BB Team 1919 From Seattle Japan." The player depicted on the card is wearing a Keio University uniform.
Interestingly, a nearly identical card featuring the same image, but different text was featured in our 2006 Auction #28. On that card, there is the text "first game pitcher". The first game of this five game series was indeed played between Seattle Asahi and Keio U. The first game pitcher for Keio was legendary Japan Hall of Fame member Michimaru Ono, who beat the Asahi that day by the score of 5 to 1. (He also won the Tour's second contest.)
The card offered here, while not containing the "first game pitcher" notation of the other card, does have text reading "champion" in Japanese across the top. The player depicted on the card resembles Ono, but is not so much how he looked in 1919, but more like his appearance in the late 1920s and 1930s.
There are no other examples of baseball cards depicting Michimaru Ono, except for this card, and the card from Auction #28 (assuming that these cards depict Ono). Baseball cards of Japanese players named on the card are not known to exist prior to the late 1920s, and by that time, Ono was no longer an active player.
On November 23, 1922, Ono would cement his reputation as one of Japan's most legendary pitchers, when he beat the 1922 U.S. Major League Tour of Japan team 9-3. This was the first game in which a Japanese team won a game against a team of U.S. Major Leaguers.
Size: 1 3/4" x 2 3/4"
Condition: Fair. Heavily creased.