Understanding how Japanese cards work

Understanding how Japanese cards work

As you know, the cradle of our Pokémon is in Japan. It is there that Creatures Inc, responsible for all the derivative products such as cards, plush toys or secondary licenses, creates and designs our dear collectibles. Game Freak, on the other hand, is responsible for developing the main editorial line of the video games, while The Pokémon Company manages the exploitation of the brand with the intellectual property, the tournaments, the edition...

Extensions in Japan

If you've ever bought Pokémon cards on our Cardotaku.com site or elsewhere, you may have noticed some differences from our French cards. 

To begin with, the series are composed differently :

  • In the form of two twin sets of 50/80 cards, as is the case with the S5i & S5r
  • In a single extension of 50/80 cards, as for the series S4 Astonishing Volt Tackle
  • It gathers 180/200 cards of several other series and exclusives to make a series like the S4a Shiny V star


Pokémon boosters in Japon 

For the majority of the series, the boosters include 5 cards. The distribution of the cards is as follows:
booster carte pokemon japonais

 > 3 common cards

  •  > 1 uncommon card, holographic, V, Vmax, or a secret
  •  > 1 uncommon card

In the classic sets, there are no reverses or unshiny rare cards: all rare cards are necessarily holographic.

carte pokemon japonais rareté

The rarities of the cards are represented by letters found at the bottom of the card.

  • C : common cards
  • U : uncommon cards
  • R : holographic cards
  • RR : rare cards (ex : V cards)
  • RRR : very rare cards (ex : Vmax cards)
  • HR : Hyper rare cards, like rainbows for example
  • UR : Ultra rare cards, like the gold ones for example
  • SR : rare secret cards, for full art for example

Understand the outputs

As mentioned above, the Japanese card expansions are smaller and include fewer cards, but the releases are much more regular and include other items such as decks, giant boosters... This fits the Japanese consumption pattern: small but very frequent purchases.

In USA and Europe, the releases are much more spaced out, the series are bigger (on average 200 cards) and include the cards of several expansions released the previous months in Japan. 

I hope that we have been able to guide you through the world of Japanese cards and hope that you will soon be able to add to your collection.

Written by Manon Froissart

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