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Should You Pay Massive Amounts for Japanese Modern Pokemon Cards?

Supply issues have plagued almost all Pokemon collectors for over a year, as high-demand sets combined with a massive increase in TCG interest overwhelmed Pokemon’s existing printing abilities. The imbalance of supply and demand has led to high prices on the secondary Japanese Pokemon card market, with many sets over the past year selling for well above MSRP. 

However, Pokemon seems to have largely caught up with demand on the English side of the market. Even Evolving Skies, a set containing some of the most popular Pokemon ever with stunning alternate art cards, is readily available at MSRP upon release. The reduction of supply issues are not only limited to main sets, special sets like Shining Fates have been reprinted consistently, leading to decreasing values on the secondary market and increased availability. Given this trend and the highly anticipated Celebrations release, many Pokemon fans have decided against paying high secondary market prices and to instead wait for increased printing to decrease prices. 

Japanese Pokemon cards

Some are applying this logic to the Japanese release of Celebrations as well, believing that high secondary market prices will lead to more reprints, a decrease in value, and a general lack of urgency to purchase sealed product. Japanese releases, however, are much different than English releases. While Pokemon’s English division consistently increases supply to meet demand and address high secondary market prices, this is not the case in Japan. Products consistently trade on the secondary market for well above retail price with limited to no reprints. From Shiny Star V to Kanazawa Special Boxes, to Eevee Heroes and Japanese Celebrations, prices have remained well above retail price with limited reprints. Almost all recent Japanese main set releases have been allocated via lottery, and have sold for 50-100% above retail price upon release. Some have even sold for more, the Eevee Heroes Gym Set featuring an alternate art Espeon VMAX consistently sells for close to four times its original retail price. What reprints there have been have done little to reduce demand and secondary market prices. In fact, prices have often increased after the initial release. 

High preorder prices for the Japanese equivalent of Celebrations may be shocking, and it is up to each individual collector to decide whether they wish to pay the market value. However, one should not take the same approach to English as Japanese. If you want Japanese Celebrations, waiting to purchase is likely to backfire. In an ideal situation, Pokemon’s Japanese card division would increase supply similar to English, but there are no indications that this is going to happen. 

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Ethan Pohl – Ludkins Media

Follow Ethan on Instagram and Twitter @fourthstartcg

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