Seeking reliable websites that sell hard-to-find Japanese, Korean, Hong Kong movies on DVD
May 13, 2004 10:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for high quality, reliable (since they'll end up having my credit card number) English-language sites that sell (and ship internationally) hard-to-find Japanese, Korean, Hong Kong movies on DVD. There are so many sites that seem to do that. What do you recommend? Also, tangentially related: is there an all-English-language version of the very interesting My Japanese is close to non-existent thanks
posted by matteo to Shopping (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
YesAsia is probably the biggest and most reputable one that comes to mind. I use it like an Asian IMDB when trying to track down an HK film.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 11:03 AM on May 13, 2004

Not sure if this helps, but there is a Shop in English page on However, it's mostly targeted at ex-pats living in Japan; you'll have a hard time finding Japanese DVDs that haven't been brought out in English.

Also, all products seem to have a "display in English" button next to them on, so that if you manage to find something you want you can place your order in English.
posted by Jeanne at 11:05 AM on May 13, 2004

I've done business with JList before, and would reccommend them. They actually lost my order and I didn't recieve any word from them for some time, but once I contacted them they took care of it and the DVD showed up within 2 days.
posted by falconred at 11:12 AM on May 13, 2004 has been good to me, though they did identify one title as all region and in fact it was R3. I placed a huge order with them which was delayed by a week due to a screwup on their end. They credited me the shipping cost (a hefty us$57).
posted by dobbs at 11:16 AM on May 13, 2004

I have purchased from YesAsia and it worked really, really well. They are fast, based out of California, and actually answer their phone (there was a cc error, my fault).

An order placed on an item that said "ships in 2-3 weeks" arrived in 2 weeks.
posted by whatzit at 11:17 AM on May 13, 2004

Response by poster: these are great, great answers, thanks everybody for your time and please keep them coming -- just one thing: I've checked out the JList site and, considering the emphasis it gives to some titles it seems more the place to buy bukkake than Kiyoshi Kurosawa. I can certainly appreciate, say, Anna Ohura's massive acting talent, but I'm looking for non-adult dvd's at this time. is JList good for regular movies -- say, a special edition of Ghost in the Shell -- too?
posted by matteo at 11:49 AM on May 13, 2004

just adding in a third recommendation for YesAsia... very ncie place.
posted by lotsofno at 11:52 AM on May 13, 2004

Another thing on YesAsia, seeing the comment about shipping - you only pay shipping costs from the US, not from wherever the goods come from. Big plus.
posted by whatzit at 1:26 PM on May 13, 2004

I'd recommend Poker Industries for the Hong Kong side of things. Fast, inexpensive, reliable, and very friendly. Be sure to sign up for their mailing list, because they routinely send out 10% and 15% off coupons through it.

As for Japanese DVDs, the cheapest source by far is to order direct from Japan via's auctions, or from Rakuten Furima, for your fixed-price needs. Japanese people tend to take disgustingly good care of their stuff, so used is just as good as new, and a whole lot cheaper. In my experience, if you're willing to look around you can routinely find things on Yahoo and Rakuten for half of the original price, or even less. Example: I paid 6300 yen at Rakuten Furima for a brand new artbook + DVD set that goes for 12000 yen at

If you go this route, you'll need an agent in Japan to handle the transaction for you. Fortunately, there are several services that'll act as the middleman for you, so you won't have to know Japanese, and you'll be able to bid on auctions that won't ship overseas. I personally swear by - these guys are as nice as it gets, and their fees are very low. Plus, they'll consolidate your recent orders into one package (a must, since the shipping costs from Japan can be harsh). Celga specializes in anime, but they will happily manage any auction for you - I've used them for Jpop before. If you're looking for a slightly nicer browsing interface, try I would never place an order with them, personally, due to their outlandish fees, but they do a nice job at translating the original yahoo pages into English. If you can't read Japanese, I'd recommend that you use the Rinkya site to find what you want, and then place your actual order through Celga.

Essential tools for browsing for Japanese stuff: Jim Breen's Kanji Translator and's mouse-over Kanji translator. Even if you have no knowledge of Japanese grammar, you'll probably be able to make better sense of auction pages using these than you will using a machine translator like Altavista's Babelfish.

One last tip: if there's something specific that you're looking for, but don't know the Japanese search term for, you can usually figure it out by searching for the English equivalent on Google and/or shopping sites like YesAsia or Then just paste what you've found into's search engine. There's a link on the results page that shows you pictures for each item: it's the third link on the second line at the top, just after the ads. Using the picture browse mode and the translation sites above, you should be able to find just about anything on Yahoo's auctions.

If you have problems with finding the list of auctions for a specific English search term, or you need a quick-n-dirty translation for an auction page, please post another AskMe or drop me an email. I'll see if I can't help you out... so long as you're not trying to snipe me on an auction for Patlabor stuff. ^__^ Good luck with bidding!
posted by vorfeed at 1:59 PM on May 13, 2004

I've ordered from AsianXpress at least five times, and never had a problem. They're great.

I had a hard time getting Poker Industries to respond to e-mails -- a DVD I ordered was out of stock, and they didn't bother to tell just never showed. Mind, this was maybe four years ago.
posted by Vidiot at 5:52 PM on May 13, 2004

Response by poster: thanks everybody

vorfeed -- outstanding!
posted by matteo at 2:56 AM on May 14, 2004

Response by poster: I ended up buying a few dvd's with YesAsia -- speedy shipping, very good packaging. I'm very happy with their service.
thanks again, everybody
posted by matteo at 8:22 AM on June 11, 2004

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