Are Pokémon cards getting so expensive in Japan that they’ve become investments for adults and are out of the reach of kids, their primary targeted audience? Those are concerns raised by journalist Yuki Takahashi and published in the English edition of the Japanese paper The Mainichi Shimbun.
Takahashi spoke about how some individual cards are going for upwards of $88,000. While visiting stores in Akihabara, the journalist found shop after shop completely sold out of cards. Some shops mentioned a lottery system for cards, because so many people want them. Finally Takahashi found a store selling cards, but they were locked up tight and going for prices like $2,200, $4,400 and $8,800. These cards themselves are worth about 88 cents, according to the manufacturer.
“It’s basically a feeding frenzy,” a person in the trading cards business is quoted as saying.
“It’s very likely that the price will go over 20 million yen (some $176,000) in the future, but that’s just way too much,” another person in the trading card business said, referring to rare Charizard cards.
A person who owns a card shop remarked, “Thinking in the medium to long-term, so 10 or more years, Pokémon cards will become a kind of asset class.”
Some individuals are literally investing through Pokémon cards. One investor explained that “with the coronavirus pandemic my bonus went to zero, so I started (Pokémon card) investing. I’ve made almost 1 million yen [about $8,777.70] from it.”
Anecdotally, Takahashi said a lot of the collectors and investors appeared to be people who got into Pokémon when they were kids. A survey of these collectors had them say things like “I got back into characters I really liked as a child” and “I have a lot more buying power now than I did when I was a child.”
But as one current child told Takahashi, “It’s really hard to get new cards, so I just can’t beat my friends no matter how much I play.”
Source: The Mainichi Shimbun
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.