From Hayao Miyazaki’s whimsical films Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service to long-standing character franchises Pokemon and Godzilla, Japanese popular culture is much loved and consumed by all ages around the globe. This international following has given Japan the ability to influence other nations through the attraction of their culture, values, and ideas as opposed to portraying a strongman persona through military and economic strength. Political scientist Joseph Nye calls this leveraging “soft power” to capture goodwill and promote the interests of a country, whether political or economical, in nature.
International fans can support different Japanese pop culture industries by buying licensed merchandise. However, most of the goods are not available in some countries like the Philippines. The Japanese don’t prioritize actively marketing these properties outside of their domestic fanbase. Luckily online import sites and local businesses have stepped up to the plate in importing items from Japan. Through regular cargo shipping, these platforms make it easier for Filipino fans to acquire coveted Japanese products.
International sourcing and delivery experience
Music CDs can be sourced from CD Japan, a website specializing in Japanese music-related goods. Buying physical releases are a treat to avid fans due to the items such as banners, posters, and photo cards that usually come with the albums. CD Japan is a good option since it is specifically designed for foreign buyers. The price range for a CD falls around Php 1000 when converted from their original yen pricing with shipping fees incorporated.
Delivery is a smooth process with the use of Express Mail Service (EMS), international service with connections to several post offices around the world. Using this method would take around three days for shipping, excluding delivery within the Philippines. After the product is shipped from Japan, it arrives at the PhilPost’s central offices in Pasay City, where the parcel will be shipped to one’s address within seven working days.
Banking on local shops
If someone would like to defer shipping options to sellers, there are local shops that import and sell hobby items from Japan. Onegai Onii-Chan Japanese Hobby Shop (OOC) is one local online store that sells everything from scale figures to shirts and other unique merchandise. They are recognized as an official Philippine retailer of top Japanese figure company brands such as Good Smile Company (GSC).
The advantage of buying items form OOC is the ease of transactions and the range of products being offered, mostly products a fan will find difficult ordering themselves if they would try to order from Japan directly. Requests for specific items are also accommodated given availability, with the owner being an anime fan himself. Shipping fees incurred are incorporated into the prices of the items.
Fellow Japanese pop culture fans can explore these options to cultivate their hobbies. Supporting these interests can be expensive but rewarding. This is an opportunity to give back to the artists who are making a positive impact in the lives of others through their talents. With enough attention and support internationally, Japanese companies can be incentivized to cater to markets outside of their borders.