Why are some Japanese exclusives not printed in English?

I really like the exclusivity aspect of some Japanese promos being only available in Japanese (anywhere from the older PLAY promos to more recent promos like the poncho Pikachus), but I am curious as to why Nintendo chooses not to print them in English. From a business perspective, wouldn’t selling promos like Poncho Pikachu in English make them more money, since it most likely be really popular? Or is does Nintendo want to appeal to the collectors by keeping the cards more exclusive?

Hopefully this doesn’t sound like a rant. I’m not saying I want the Japanese exclusives to be printed in English, just wondering why Nintendo chooses not to do so.

A Japanese exclusive can’t be printed in English. It’s a matter of language.


Because Japan is literally on a whole different level when it comes to their love of Pokemon.

For Pete’s Sake, Pikachu is the mascot of the 2020 Olypmics. They have celebrites collabing on cards and even doing 7-11 in store promotions. Since Pokemon is such a big part of the culture over there, they’re going to be given many more oppertunities when it comes to exclusives and promotions.

Until the US gets on the level Japan is at, we’ll probably only ever be thrown promos that are deemed “safe”, since they probably don’t see the worth in it when it comes to promos that might not sell or do well.

Many cards do cross over to English, some don’t. The ones that don’t end up as Japanese exclusives. I don’t think there’s much of a rhyme or reason beyond that.

There’s so much going on all the time at a corporate level that we don’t see. The bottom line is it’s not up to Nintendo, TPCi, or any entity other than The Pokemon Company in Japan. TPCi, who distributes cards outside Japan and Korea, is just a branch of that company.

Pokemon is a Japanese brand. Naturally Japan will have the most exclusive product. They have the most flexibility and freedom to create.


I would argue that most promo JP cards don’t cross over to English. The run of the mill normal stuff does but the awesome promotional cards rarely do.

You want to hope they don’t…if you own one. Every time I can think of, that they release one in English the Jpn market one tanks. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been hesitant to invest in any more.
At one time I had a thousand B’day Pikachus in their sticker packs then graded many. Later the English release came out and the market crashed. Many of the coros had the same result.

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@garyis2000, That is true. At least English WOTC set cards have value. 99% of Modern English is saturated and stagnant. The most exciting aspect of Modern Pokemon are the japanese exclusive promos.


Thanks for the answers guys! And @garyis2000, I totally agree with you. I hope they keep a lot of the promos as Japanese exclusives, as that adds both uniqueness and collectibility. @smpratte, thanks for bringing up the topic of modern, which I forgot to consider.

Did they not crash due to the rarity being massively overstated? When they crashed did the Japanese cards fall below the price of the English version? From what I see on eBay they are higher than the English copies currently for mint cards. Also did the world collection release make any sort of difference?

Are there any English only cards that Japan doesn’t have?

There are a few here and there that are mostly English tin/box promos I think. The shiny darkrai and zygarde box promos are the two most recent I believe.

first that comes to mind is the WB Kids illustration promos.

Where is the best place to look to find them all?

I would guess @quuador may know if have a list but I was just remembering them off the top of my head tbh.

On a lower standpoint, that original cute knit yarn Eevee will have a wide distribution on the English side but horrible for the market!

1st~ japanese started as an EXPENSIVE card to grab online. I remember paying $150+ on day 1!!! Only distributed in Japan at Pokémon Card Stations as Classroom participation prizes.
2nd~ as a Daiichi bread promo with pokemon packaging (1 of many) so there was a chase element! (I have a video on my thread somewhere :joy::joy::joy:)
3rd~ it’s coming as the Unbroken Bonds single blisters that’s only about $5! :grimacing:

It seems if it hits the US, we are the lost zone!!! :persevere:


A great example how English modern is where all cards go to die. Majority of the releases in japan have some sort of purpose. When cards cross to English they are carelessly slapped into less conceptual product.

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I’l just quote myself here in that case :blush:


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I’m not sure how TPCi is set up, but does the North American side not have a large budget or any flexibility? Seems like every move they make is to maximize the dollar. I’m guessing we rarely get unique or limited releases because they don’t want to leave any money on the table (why make 300 copies when you can sell 30,000?). In the age of companies showing awareness and good will, TPCi seems to be braindead.