Welcome to Otsukai!
This is our guide for first-time users on Otsukai. We hope it gives you a short and smooth introduction to our proxy-buying service, which is different from other services and shops you may have encountered before. Otsukai was created by the team at MANGA.TOKYO, an online news site that is dedicated to bringing you the fastest and most interesting news related to anime, manga, games, and other aspects of Japanese otaku culture.
In a nutshell, Otsukai is a service that helps you get hold of Japan-exclusive items by asking members of the Japanese public to get hold of them on your behalf. Otsukai means ‘errand’ in Japanese, and you are essentially asking the Japanese users to run an errand by purchasing and shipping your item directly to you!
So how does Otsukai work?
Otsukai is split into two sides, the Japanese side and the worldwide side.
Here on the worldwide side, you can make a public posting which describes the Japanese merchandise you are looking for. We simply call this a Request. (See ‘Let’s get started’ below to learn how to get started on making Requests!)
Over on the Japanese side, our users in Japan (who we call Friends) will look through Requests and see if they can fulfill any of them! If a Friend thinks they can get hold of something for you, they will calculate the price of the item, shipping and other additional costs (such as packaging, transport or handling fees) and make you an offer! 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! The price already includes shipping and handling, so you will only need to make ONE payment via PayPal.
Please see our FAQ section Payment Methods and Fees for further information on payment and fees.
Once you receive an offer that is to your liking, you can accept it and proceed with payment via PayPal. This is the beginning of you and your Friend’s Errand.
The next time you will hear back from Otsukai should be when the Friend has shipped your stuff. As Otsukai only recommends shipping methods that have a tracking number, the email you receive will contain the number you need to track the item.
So you get your item, yay! But the Errand is not complete just yet. 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’. This is an important step in the process, as it lets us know that the Friend has indeed sent the item that you were expecting to receive.
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.
The first way (A) is to make a new Request from scratch! This is just a public posting that you can make to let the Japanese users know what it is you are looking for. You can write a description, add photos and even add a website link if it will help. You then wait for the Japanese users to make you some offers if they think they can fulfill your Request.
The second way (B) is to automatically make a new Request using the details of another offer made on the site. This can be very useful if you are really interested in an offer that somebody else has received, or if you receive multiple offers that you like on one of your own Requests. A new Request will be made using the details from the offer, and the Japanese user who made it will get an email notifying them that you are interested! Just like with method (A), you will then wait to receive an offer that you like the look of before accepting it.
The third and final way (C) is by accepting an Open Offer. This function allows you to instantly accept an offer that has been made on a different user's Request. Not all offers will be Open Offers, and there will be certain conditions which must be met.
A) Create a Request on items you would like to purchase.
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.
- First you create an account and log in.
- Click on the big Request an item + button, which is permanently visible on the right lower-hand side of your page. If you are using the app, click on the + button on the lower part of your screen, which is located between To Do and My Page.
- Insert all the required details and click on Create.
- After you're done, your Request will appear on the top page and will be 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.
- First you create an account and log in.
- If you see an offer you like that was made to someone else you can simply click on the button 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 implemented features. This feature allows you to accept offers which have been made to other users, under certain circumstances. If so, the Buy now button will appear when you are looking at the offer.
- First you create an account and log in.
- Look for Open Offers which have a display the button Buy now button displayed. You can also tell if an offer is an Open Offer because a price will be displayed when you are browsing the 'All Offers' page.
- Click this button and proceed with the payment.
- The offer will disappear from the original Request and a new Request will automatically be 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!
Although we would love to help you get hold of all the items you were hoping to purchase, there is a limit to what we can do. The Japanese postal service 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.
Furthermore, as we and our Friends are located in Japan, there are some items which are difficult to get hold of or may cost much more than buying them outside of Japan.
Do not request for:
- English-version or English-subtitled manga, games, anime
- Unlicensed items or bootleg products
- e-books or other digital media (including iTunes vouchers)
- Non-Japanese items
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 Requests or bio. 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.