A while back I wrote a post singing the praises of a new initiative Amazon seems to be doing of featuring products made in Italy. Happily, they also created a storefront for products made in Japan.
The Made in Japan Store
If you do a search for “made in Japan” or “not made in China” on Amazon, invariably you’ll find that Amazon shows you products made in China. Their search functionality is “dumb” intentionally—they show their highest converting products and hope that consumers will be too clueless to question whether the product really matches the search result. And sadly, most consumers are.
Unlike the Made in Italy store which appears to allow anyone to submit a made in Italy product for inclusion in their storefront, the Made in Japan store appears to be curated in collaboration with JETRO, a government agency in Japan. Honestly, I kind of like this method better, as it ensure that what you find here is curated by legitimate sources.
That said, I am disappointed that unlike Made in Italy products, the Amazon product pages have not been updated to reflect the correct country of origin. This leads to false positives like this one. I clicked through from the Made in Japan storefront, and yes, it is sold by a Japanese third-party seller. But it’s also clearly is a China-made product. Also be careful of products like this from Japanese brands that say things like “Tested In Japan”. That’s a clear tell that it’s made in China.
So “Buyer Beware” applies. In many cases the title of the product will include “Made in Japan”. If it does, you’re pretty much guaranteed that the product is proudly made there. If it doesn’t (and if the country of origin doesn’t appear anywhere in the listing), chances are it wasn’t made in Japan. Be sure to reach out to the third party seller carrying the product to confirm.
Is Amazon Finally Listening to its Customers About Country of Origin??
Yes and no. You can see from the poor design of these sites that Amazon puts very little support into building or maintaining these. I do see some new products added from time to time, but not as frequently as I’d hope.
The likely scenario is that some Amazon product manager came up with the idea years ago, was given a small amount of money to make it happen, and launched a site with great fanfare that was ultimately neglected because it didn’t get as much traffic as other sites. My advice, if you love Japanese stuff, is to make sure you BUY from this site so that Amazon gets the message that yes, this is precisely what we want.
The good news is that just starting from the Made in Japan store will give you a good head start over Amazon or Google search, where results are going to be much more suspect than these.
It’s tragic that Amazon seems to have stopped building and maintaining these storefronts after Italy and Japan. I would have loved to see ones for Germany, the United States, Japan, Canada, and more. But we can only hope that at some point Amazon will wake up and allow customers to search by country of origin. Until then, make your voice heard by contacting Amazon and shopping from these rare cases where they make it easier for you to find Country of Origin.
How to Search
Happily, Amazon makes it easy for you to search within the Made in Japan store. For example, I was looking for a large kettle to place in my “Best Kettles” post. I just went to the top search bar…
…and typed “kettle” under “JAPAN STORE”. I found the Akao brand kettles, which I added to my post (and plan on buying).
The Best Deals
Of course, you can surf around to find the best deals. The Made in Japan store on Amazon is split into these categories:
- Toy and Hobby
- PC and Office Products
- Sports and Outdoor
Here are some standouts in the Kitchen Category. If the prices seem higher, remember that you and I have been brainwashed into accepting cheap American brands made in China. Pay a little extra for these made in Japan products, and get a product that’s made with Japanese craftsmanship and material, works well from day one, and will outlast dozens of pieces of junk from China. Again, be sure to check with the seller before buying, as there are a lot of China counterfeiters posing as third party sellers.
- Saikai Pottery Traditional Rice Bowls – $20.00
- Hario Drip Coffee Decanter – $19.25
- Soonear Mandoline Slicer – $33.88
- Seki Vegetable Peeler – $22.99
- Quickone Takei Kettle -$37.20
- Kutani Yaki Cat Mug – $31.98
Here are some highlights from the Home Category:
- Suizan Pull Hand Saw (Ryoba Edge) – $40.80
- Kuretake Japanese Watercolor Paint – $40.56
- Kasoyo Wood Carving Set – $29.00
- Emoor Futon / Tatami Mattress – $159.99
Here are some highlights from the Grocery Category:
- Yamaroku Japanese Soy Sauce – $44.99. If that’s too pricey, try the Kishibori!
- Maruta Kompeito Sugar Candy – $9.30 (feed a Susuwatari!)
- Marafuku White Miso – $8.95
- Hojicha Green Tea – $14.30
- Tamaruya Wasabi Paste – $7.00 (that’s real wasabi, not horseradish)
And from Beauty
- Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner – $9.99
- Necoichi Purrcision Cat Nail Clippers – $19.69
- Sanrio Hello Kitty Nail Clippers – $6.10. Shocked to find these MIJ and not MIC.
See a product you like in these or other categories? Share your favorites in the comments!
I’ll say the same thing I said on the Made in Italy post. I appreciate that Amazon is doing its part to promote products that are made in Japan. The next part is really up to us, the consumers. Will we continue to go for the absolute cheapest prices on products, regardless of the consequences? Or will we spend a little money to help local businesses in Japan continue to make top quality products?