ISTM you need an array data type like more advanced databases (than Oracle's MySQL) have. I'm a bit surprised that MySQL doesn't have them (yet).
According to Oracle's MySQL website:
MySQL will implement a data type, ARRAY, to store
variable-sized arrays, in compliance with Standard
SQL (SQL:2003) array functionality.
So for an array datatype you have to wait, or switch to a more flexible RDBMS. (I'm pretty sure that Oracle too has had Arrays for a long time, since version 7 or so)
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