How to buy items from Yahoo Auctions Japan if you are not Japanese

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 22, 2014
Updated • Sep 19, 2018

I recently started to collect retro video games, mostly classic 16-bit stuff. One of the issues here, after you have made up your mind about the console systems you want to collect is to decide whether you want to limit the collection to a certain region.

Do you only want to collect European PAL games, North-American NTSC games or Japanese games? I made the decision to go all in and collect everything.

The main issue here is that it is nearly impossible to buy many Japanese games in Europe. And the ones that are on offer are quite expensive as well.

That's why I began to check out sites in Japan directly to order from there instead, and one of the greatest is Yahoo Auctions Japan.

This is one of the biggest auction sites in Japan -- eBay is not offering a platform there anymore -- but the problem is that if you are not Japanese, you cannot really register an account.

The first issue you will come across is the captcha verification. Since Japanese signs are displayed in it, you need to find a way to enter them. While copying and pasting from other sources works, it is not something that is done quickly unless you have access to a Japanese keyboard and know your way around in the language.

But even if you manage that, you may run into other troubles such as having to have a local -- read Japanese -- shipping address or bank account.

Last but not least, you will run into communication issues with many sellers on the platform and the fact that most ship only to Japan.

yahoo auctions japan


The only viable solution for people not living in Japan is to use a proxy service. I have been using Japamart for that but there are others such as From Japan or Jauce and I will switch to another soon as the fees are lower..

You can sign up on these sites directly and how things go from here depends on the site. For Japamart and the majority of others, you have to make a deposit via PayPal or Credit Card payment first. The deposit amount multiplied by two is the maximum amount you can bid on auction on Japamart while it may be handled in a different way on other sites.

All services charge a variety of fees that you pay on top of the item's price and shipping to another domestic location in Japan.

It usually comes down to paying a commission and maybe other fees such as a bank fee and a transaction fee on top of that. Sometimes, you pay fees to the seller of the auction as well if that is listed in the auction.

It pays to compare fees on multiple sites to make sure you are not paying more than you have to. These sites offer English pages and provide you with information about the fees that they charge.

Here is a quick overview of some popular Japanese proxy shopping services and their fees

Proxy Name Commission Bank Fee Usage Fee Total Price Notes
Buyee 150 yen for items 3000 yen or less, or 5% 200 yen service fee  at least 350 yen Check selected plans for extra fees (up to 500 yen)
FromJapan from 700 Yen 200 yen per deposit 200 yen payment fee at least 900 yen Check extra fees here.
Japamart from $6 on $2 per auction 5% at least $8 + 5%
JaponicaMarket from 500 yen at least 500 yen PayPal 3.2% + 40 yen
Jauce from 400 yen 300 yen per auction 8% at least 700 + 8%
Noppin from 500 yen 3.5% deposit 100 yen per 1kg (unless EMS is used) at least 500 yen Fee can go up to 12.5%
remambo 500 yen  500 yen

Note: 1000 yen are roughly 8.9 Dollar, 7.6 Euro and 6.7 British Pound.

As you can see, fees differ a lot between services. Some services let you combine shipping and handling (which comes on top of all that) so that all your goods are sent to you in a single package.

Some also let you combine shipping and handling for the domestic transfer, but only if you buy from the same seller on the same day, and if that seller accepts that.

You may want to check optional service fees. Some proxy services offer to check the content of packages, or repackage items into sturdier boxes which may be better for overseas shipping.

Other tips

If you don't speak Japanese, use a translation service to translate the auction site. This should give you a rough understanding of what the item is about. Rough because the translation won't be perfect but if you take into account the photos and the translation, it should provide you with enough information.

Some sites translate auction sites for you but that is also by using machine translation.

Chromium and Google Chrome support automatic translations which makes them excellent for this task.  Other browsers may support translation extensions so that you may use them as well for the task.

How to buy items from Yahoo Auctions Japan if you are not Japanese
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How to buy items from Yahoo Auctions Japan if you are not Japanese
How to order items from Yahoo Auctions Japan if you are not Japanese and cannot create an account on the site for that.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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