Welcome to Otsukai!
This is our guide for first-time users on Otsukai. We hope it gives you a smooth introduction to our proxy-buying service, which is different from other services you may have encountered before. Otsukai was created by the team at MANGA.TOKYO, an online news site that is dedicated to bringing you all the news you need related to Japanese otaku culture.
In a nutshell, Otsukai is a service that helps you get hold of Japan-exclusive items by asking Japanese residents to get hold of them on your behalf. Otsukai means ‘errand’ in Japanese, so you are essentially asking the Japanese users to run an errand for you by purchasing and shipping your item on to you!
So how does Otsukai work?
Otsukai is split into two sides, the Japanese side and the worldwide side.
Worldwide users make public requests detailing the item they are looking for. We simply call these Requests.
Japanese users (who we call Friends) will look through Requests and respond to those they are able to fulfill by making an Offer. The Offer's price will be calculated by Friend, and includes the price of the item, domestic and/or international shipping and any other additional costs (such as packaging, transport or handling fees).
The Friend will enter the offer in Japanese yen, and Otsukai will automatically add on the service charge (10%) and PayPal fee (8%) and convert everything into US dollars. This means that the price you see is the price you pay!
Please see our FAQ section Payment Methods and Fees for further information on payment and fees.
Once you receive an offer that you like, you can accept it and proceed with payment via PayPal. This is the beginning of yours and your Friend’s Errand.
The next time you will hear back from Otsukai should be when the Friend has shipped your package. Otsukai only allows trackable shipping methods, so this email will also include your tracking number.
Once the item has arrived, you need to log in to Otsukai and let us know that the item arrived safely by rating your Friend as ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’.
Once you’ve rated the Friend, they will rate you back and the Errand is complete!
Simple stuff, right?
If anything is unclear, please check out our detailed FAQ!
If you still can’t find the answer to your question there, please just let us know by contacting us via the Otsukai support center. You can make a support ticket via the link below:Contact us
Let's get started! - How to make Requests on Otsukai
There are three possible ways to purchase items on Otsukai.
A) Create a Request
Creating new Requests is the most common way to purchase items on Otsukai. It allows you to create your own unique Request for which you will receive offers if our users in Japan can get hold of it. A good Request will include an adequate title and description and a relevant image.
- Create an account and log in.
- Click on the + Request an item button, which is permanently visible at the bottom of the page. If you are using the app, click on the + button on the bottom of your screen.
- Insert all the required details and click on Create.
- Your Request will appear on the front page and is now ready to receive offers. All you have to do now is wait for offers to be made by our users in Japan.
See Placing a Request for further details.
B) Create a new Request based on an existing offer.
This function can be used to create a Request based on an Offer which was made to someone else. By creating a Request this way, the Japanese user who made the offer will automatically be notified and is likely to make you the same or similar offers.
- Create an account and log in.
- On the Offer's page, click on I want to request this item!.
- Insert the required details and click on Create.
C) Purchase an item via the Open Offer function.
The Open Offer function is one of our newest features. This feature allows you to accept Offers which have been made to other users under certain circumstances. If the item is available to you, the Buy now button will be displayed on the Offer page.
- Create an account and log in.
- Navigate to an Open Offer. Open Offers will be Offers made to users other than yourself that have a Buy now displayed. They will also display a price on the "All Offers" page, unlike non-open Offers.
- Click Buy now and proceed with payment.
- The offer will disappear from the original Request and a new Request will be automatically created.
Please see Open Offers page, which includes some questions you may have regarding Open Offers.
Please be aware that there are some items which can not be requested!
Japan Post has a long list of prohibited items that are not allowed to be sent in or out of Japan. Otsukai and its users must abide to these rules, so any item on their restricted or prohibited item list cannot be requested or offered on our website. Therefore, the shipment of batteries, portable chargers, perfumes, perishable foods and more is not allowed on Otsukai. Please take a look at the List of Items Prohibited or Restricted to Import before creating a Request.
There are some items beyond this list that are also not allowed to be requested on Otsukai:
- English-version or English-subtitled manga, games, anime
- Unlicensed items or bootleg products
- e-books or other digital media (including iTunes vouchers)
- Tickets for events, gigs, and raffles
- Non-Japanese items
Items that fall into any of the above categories will be removed without warning. Repeated offenses may result in the deactivation of your account. Please see What to Request or Not Request before requesting for a detailed list.
In addition please don't forget to take a look at List of Items Prohibited or Restricted to Import.
Got questions? Leave a comment!
If you need to ask a Friend a quick question about an Offer they've made or clarify some details, you can post a comment on your Request at any time. Scroll down to your Request's Timeline, write a message in the comment box and click the 'Post' button. Friends who have made Offers to this Request will receive an automatic email letting them know about your comment!
Please write your comment in English or Japanese and make sure it is polite and as easy to understand as possible. You may only comment on your own Requests, and you can only make or delete comments until an Offer is accepted. Once you accept an Offer, the Request's Timeline cannot be altered, meaning no changes to comments can be made by you or a Friend.
Only request items from Japan
Otsukai is a system to help you get hold of items only available in Japan.
No personal info or contact information
All communication must be done directly on Otsukai or via our support center. This means no email addresses or social media handles in your profile on Otsukai. You can read more on why here at Can I Contact the Friend Directly?
No Requests for prohibited items
Although Otsukai strives to give users the freedom to make Requests for any Japanese item they want, there are some restrictions in place as some items cannot be shipped internationally.
The most common prohibited items users try to request on Otsukai are perfume, mobile batteries, and perishables. We may delete Requests for these items without warning. Please be sure to check the list of prohibited items before making your first Request.
No inappropriate images
Adult items such as adult games, manga etc are permitted on Otsukai but you must not post any images of a violent or sexual nature. If you would like to use an image relating to your requested item, please crop it so that NSFW (not safe for work) areas of the image cannot be seen. The title of the Request should be the official name of the product like the game or manga's title and nothing more. Please do not use terms like R18, hentai, eroge, adult etc in the Request's title. Requests containing these words may be deleted without warning. If you are not sure if it's okay to post your Request, feel free to run it by us first by creating a ticket with some details and we will be very happy to assist.
Please use English or Japanese only
Offers or Requests made in languages other than Japanese or English may be deleted without warning.
You don't need to make multiple Requests for the same item. Making multiple Requests for the same item with the sole purpose of 'bumping' your Request to the top page may result in your Requests getting deleted.
Otsukai Support Team
If you ever encounter a problem, have questions or feedback you would like to share with us, please don't ever hesitate to contact us by creating a new ticket on Freshdesk. We will reply as soon as possible, but please note that our office hours are 09:00 - 18:00, Mondays to Fridays (Japan Standard Time / GMT+9).
Don't forget to include important details into your ticket:
- Email address
- Link to Request or offer you are referring to
What is Otsukai?
Otsukai is a service that helps you get hold of Japan-exclusive items! You make a Request for the items you are looking for and our Japanese users will search for them and make you offers to get hold of them for you.
Does the offered price include shipping?
All the fees are already calculated into the price offered to you! This includes the shipping charges as well as the 10% Otsukai service fee and 8% PayPal fee. This means that the offered price you see is the final price you pay and we won’t contact you asking for additional payment.
For further information please see How does the Friend decide on they prices they offer me?
What happens when I accept an offer?
Once you accept an offer and finish making payment via PayPal, you will receive an email from Otsukai confirming your order. At the same time, the Friend whose offer you accepted will also receive an email telling them that you accepted their offer!
You then just need to wait until you receive a shipping notification from the Friend, which will include a tracking number for your package. Once you have the item in your hands, please make sure that you log back in to Otsukai and mark the package as ‘arrived’. At the same time you can give the Friend a ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ rating depending on their level of service.
What if the person who made the offer is a scammer and my item never gets shipped?
The Japanese users do not receive any remittance until after you have marked the item as safely arrived. If you do not receive the item then Otsukai will return your money to you. If you ever have any concerns then just contact the Otsukai support team and they will investigate.
I can’t speak a lick of Japanese. Is this service for me?
You don’t need to be able to speak any Japanese to buy goods from Japan, thanks to Otsukai!
Just make your Request in English (simple, clear English is best!) and the Friends can start making offers. The Otsukai support team is also here to help you, so if you are worried about a miscommunication or you would like us to translate something into Japanese for the Friend, just give us a shout!
Another benefit of Otsukai is the fact that the Friends and staff at Otsukai all speak Japanese, so they can help you if you are struggling to navigate a Japanese website with the goods you would like. Please do not hesitate to contact us!
Who is making the offers? Is it the Otsukai staff?
The people making the offers are the Japanese users (‘Friends’) of Otsukai. The Friends are completely in charge of ordering, packaging and shipping your items. Otsukai acts as a middle-man to make sure transactions occur smoothly and safely. Feel free to contact our support team if you ever have any questions!
Can I only request anime merchandise on Otsukai?
Nope! You can make a Request for anything that is only available in Japan! Just make sure that it doesn’t fall on our list of items that cannot be shipped from Japan (such as perfumes, mobile batteries etc.)
Please check our What to Request or Not Request list prior creating a Request.
How do I pay?
Otsukai currently only accepts payment via PayPal. We have chosen PayPal due to its trustworthiness and flexibility.
Please see our Payment Methods and Fees page for a detailed description on how to pay on Otsukai.