Looking for rare Japanese items?
Forget eBay. Yahoo Japan is the promised land.
The following tutorial will show you how you can browse, bid, and buy items available on Yahoo Japan auctions- in English, and ship the items you win, to your home, anywhere on the planet.
For many years, Yahoo Japan auctions have been the most desired place for collectors all around the world to shop. Imagine: an online marketplace where thousands of Japanese shops, collectors and merchants offer millions of Japanese goods daily: at domestic Japanese prices (often a fraction of what those same items will sell for on eBay, or Amazon). Even the term ‘ebay Japan’ continues to be entered into Google Search on a daily basis, despite the fact there is no eBay Japan website.
Yahoo Japan auctions, by design, is a domestic market, intended for Japanese shoppers. There are a number of reasons why it remains generally off-limits to foreign buyers: the site is available only in Japanese. Item descriptions and titles are also mostly in Japanese. The overwhelming majority of merchants on Yahoo Japan will not ship to addresses outside Japan. As if that weren’t enough, payment methods acceptable on Yahoo Japan are generally methods only available within Japan (for example, domestic Japanese bank transfers). Paypal remains virtually unheard of in Japan and is used generally by a fringe number of Japanese merchants who sell on sites like eBay.
The difficulty most face in using this Japanese goldmine, remains an opportunity for the few with access. Thousands of rare, sought after Japanese products can be purchased on a daily basis for a fraction of their selling prices on eBay. Mind you, if you’re a CD collector, for example, you won’t find a Monro (self titled) CD a Mama’s Boys (Power and Passion) CD for $10 on Yahoo auctions. Many Japanese collectors are well aware of the value of some items. However, with that said: a record or CD that sells in the $400-500 range on eBay, will often be found in a range like $80-150 or so on Yahoo auctions. Sometimes, if you’re looking for something less obvious (off the radar of most collectors), the savings will be much bigger. Titles that regularly sell in the $50-100 range on eBay, can be found daily for as little as $10. When it comes to well known Japanese rarities, items that sell for a fortune on eBay, they will appear more often on Yahoo Japan auctions and sell for significantly less. All that’s required to find these gems, are a few simple tricks. No need to understand Japanese, just read the following tips carefully, and you’ll be well on your way to scoring one gem after another for a fraction of the prices you’re used to seeing them sell for on sites like eBay, or Amazon.
Searching for items on Yahoo Japan Auctions
(Searching in Japanese is key. Don’t worry, it’s easy to do.)
The most challenging part of using Yahoo Japan auctions, is the search. Remember: when you’re browsing Japanese auctions, you’re essentially inside a massive shopping center in the middle of Japan. Now image being inside a massive shopping complex in the heart of Tokyo. Everything will be in Japanese. The ads, the product sections, the artist sections in music stores, the author categories in book shops, the signs in the windows.
Now think about what you see on the spine (side) of a Japanese book, CD, or video game: you see Japanese text. If you try to find a Rolling Stones record in a music shop in Japan, you won’t find much if you look for the exact text ‘rolling stones’. But you will find plenty, if you search for ‘ザ・ローリング・ストーンズ’ (The Rolling Stones, written in Japanese).
Thus, to find the items you’re looking for, it is vital to use the correct Japanese translation when searching Japanese auctions.
We provide a Google translate tool in our Search settings. However, as with many Google translations, their reliability has it’s limits. If Google gets even one or two characters wrong in the translation, it will be like searching eBay for ‘rlling stons’ instead of ‘rolling stones’. Don’t worry, there’s an easy way to find the Japanese text for an artist, author, or title of a product.
Let’s say you’re looking for Michael Jackson related auctions. Go to Amazon Japan, and type ‘michael jackson’ into the search bar. You’ll see a number of results- some of them showing the artist field as ‘Michael Jackson’ and some, showing the artist in Japanese:
Now simply select and copy the Japanese artist field, and use that to perform your search. Entering ‘ マイケル・ジャクソン’ (Michael Jackson in Japanese) will show you results for all Michael Jackson related auctions:
More experienced users, may try to search for items using their barcode, product code, or catalog number. Unfortunately, on Yahoo Japan auctions, this method seldom works, as searches on Yahoo auctions are executed only on the auction title (sellers on Yahoo auctions seldom include barcodes or catalog numbers in the auction title). However, if your search is more general, for example, you’re looking for all CDs issued in the 32DP series, then a search for ‘32dp‘ may bring up a number of valid results. If you’re seeking all Playstation games, you may try a general search like ‘SLPM” or “SLPS” (partial catalog numbers).
Yahoo Auctions vs. Buy It Now Items
There are two types of listings on Yahoo Japan auctions. If you’re an eBay veteran, you’ll be familiar with these:
- Buy It Now
Auctions, like on eBay, will require for you to place the highest bid, before the time runs out, in order for you to win the auction.
Buy It Now, are items you can win instantly by clicking on the Buy Now button:
Buy It Now items can be purchased immediately on Kupiku. Bids on auctions however, will require sufficient balance in your Gift Certificate on Kupiku to be placed. Read more on bidding requirements in the next section.
What do I need to place a bid?
In order to place a bid on an auction via our service, you will need to have sufficient credit in your Gift Certificate account. When you place bids on auctions like eBay, you are required to pay that bid, only once the auction closes, and if you are the winning bidder. However, when you bid on auctions with Kupiku, we place the bid on your behalf on the Yahoo Japan auction. Once a bid is placed, we are unable to retract it. For this reason, we simply place a hold on the bid amount in your Gift Certificate balance. This ensures, in the case of a successful bid, you will have sufficient funds in your Gift Certificate to pay for the winning bid. If you become outbid by another bidder, the hold is automatically released and the amount previously reserved becomes available for you to use in other auctions or towards any purchases at Kupiku.com. If you win the auction, the amount reserved for your bid will be used to pay for the winning auction. In the case of a successful bid, you will receive an email informing you of the successful bid, and you will then be able to select and pay for your preferred shipping method.
You are welcome to estimate your shipping costs well in advance, using the shipping fee calculator on any auction page:
We place a small amount of your Gift Certificate on reserve, to ensure that in the event of a successful bid, you will have sufficient balance available to pay for the required shipping costs. For example, if you purchase a $100 Gift Certificate and intend to use it to place several bids on auctions, approx. $20 or so of the Certificate will be reserved to cover shipping costs should you win any auctions. Don’t worry: the amount is reserved only while you have active bids on auctions. You are welcome to use your entire Gift Certificate balance any other time to place orders from other sites we serve (Amazon Japan, for example).
What do I need to buy a “Buy It Now” listing?
If you already have a Kupiku.com account, simply click the Buy It Now button, and proceed to checkout. At checkout, you will first pay for the auction only (shipping costs are paid later) and receive a confirmation email with your order details. Shortly afterwards, you will receive a a second email, with your shipping options. Once you select your shipping service, your order will processed by our team, and will be shipped a few days later.
After you win an auction
You will receive an email confirmation, informing you of your successful bid. For your convenience, payment will automatically be remitted from your Gift Certificate (the amount placed on hold when you submitted your bid, will simply be used to pay for the bid). Our team will proceed to check the weight of the item you ordered, following which you will receive a second email with your shipping options. As soon as you select and pay for your desired shipping option, your order will be processed. Generally it only takes a few days for your winning item to reach our shipping department in Japan (centrally located in the greater Tokyo area), following which your order will be packaged safely, and dispatched to your address. Delivery times vary based on your location and selected shipping method, but usually range between a few days up to around 4 weeks for some countries.
Ready to dive into the world of Japanese auctions in English?
It all starts at Kupiku.com.