Jeff Smith on Yahoo Japan auctioneer denying foreign bidders, and what he did about it


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Hi Blog.  Here we have some naked xenophobia and related intolerance in interpersonal internet auctions.  I have heard of numerous cases like these on Japanese internet outlets, where sellers simply refuse to sell to somebody with money if the buyer happens to be bearing money while foreign (and nothing would come of it from moderators).  But here’s a report of what one person, Jeff Smith, decided to do about it.  As he says, auction forums in Japan need to step up with rules to honor bona fide transactions, because that’s the entire point of money as a means of transaction — it is not foreign currency even if the buyer is foreign.  Let’s wait and see what Yahoo Japan decides to do about it, if anything.  Arudou Debito

RELATED:  The case for internet anonymity in Japan, defended with inter alia “Japanese culture” (yep, “Japanese are shy…”)


Yahoo Auctioneer Denies Foreign Bidders
Documented by Jeff Smith (Osaka, Japan) February 15th, 2012

Something I came upon last night while looking for guitars on Yahoo Auctions, Japan. This individual ignoramus had the nerve to actually write in his or her auction that foreigners would be denied the right to buy said item once found to be foreign, NJ or otherwise:

○●○●○  商品詳細  ○●○●○





○●○●○  支払詳細  ○●○●○

○●○●○  発送詳細  ○●○●○

○●○●○  注意事項  ○●○●○

The statement here is as follows in English:

“Winners please be aware of the message I send upon auction close. I will not accept new bidders who do not reply, or people with bad manners. New bidders are to respond within 48 hours, and those that do so will be allowed to pay for the item. In addition, due to troubles that have occurred, I am not accepting any foreign bidders with a score under 30 rating. [This was actually changed this morning, Feb. 15, 2012: originally it said I will accept NO FOREIGN WINNERS, period.]  If I find that the winner is a foreigner after the auction ends, I shall void the auction at my convenience.”

Amazed that this person could even have the gall to write in such a manner, I contacted the seller with a message as follows:

English translation:
Good evening. It’s a shame that you have claimed to have had some trouble with foreigners, but to say that you will do no business with them is prejudicial thinking on your part. There are people on this auction who are serious, and Japanese people have caused trouble on auctions as well. I myself have had problems, and have not blamed all Japanese people for it. I hope you find a good bidder.

The auctioneer quickly replied with the following:

“Because of lack of comprehension and inability to effectively communicate intentions on the part of the winners, I have decided not to do business with foreigners.” (意志疎通: ishisottsu; means this ability to communicate thoughts or intentions smoothly)

He or she then responded with a nasty jab:


“If you (or someone else) doesn’t like it, just don’t bid, please. Also, please don’t put comments like this (actually these, because いちいち(ichi-ichi) in Japanese implies a nagging complaint, therefore someone else called this person out.) This person’s Japanese language ability isn’t all that great, either.

I reported this person to Yahoo Auction under 詐欺 (sagi:fraud), and possible trouble (トラブル可能性) which if you think about it, it is if someone is to deny someone their rights to buy an item if they are found to be foreign! The ridiculous comments from this person, such as the “inability to communicate intentions” just goes to show how xenophobes and racists use these lame excuses to cover up how they dropped the idiomatic “ball” and had bad experiences. Still, Yahoo Auction needs to have a clearer stance on their guidelines as to not tolerating this kind of behavior.

Be on the lookout for these types of idiots who think they can run auctions with impunity: don’t be afraid to call people out on it!


38 comments on “Jeff Smith on Yahoo Japan auctioneer denying foreign bidders, and what he did about it

  • There are whole communities of people from all over the world who buy goods from Japan using shopping services (there are quite a few communities on LiveJournal). Essentially they pay someone in Japan to bid and buy the items for them. It’s good business for the shopping services, but a little ridiculous that it is necessary. I myself have seen some items from mbok and the Yahoo auctions that I would love to purchase, but I’m not interested in having to go through the whole hoopla of trying to find a trustworthy shopping service. It’s so much easier to take my business to China or Korea.

  • You may have more luck if you report this incident to the US Yahoo Auction site – they would likely me more sensitive to following this up quickly than their Japanese counterparts… Different sites, I know, but US-headquartered multinationals can be fairly prompt to respond when there is the appearance of discrimination.

  • Jeff,

    Would you mind sharing a link to the auctioneer?
    I will add my voice in complaint, and maybe others would as well.
    With enough complaints, he may change. And if not, I am sure that he will appreciate the many comments.
    Or if Yahoo gets enough complaints of sagi from him, they may force him to change.

  • Another John says:

    Quoth the seller: “気になることのであれば入札しなければいいだけではないでしょうか?いちいちこんなことを質問蘭に書かないでください。”

    So what? This is a non-issue, in my view. I support the seller.
    This is a 6-day auction, not a permanent storefront, so I see it as a very different situation that the “Japanese Only” storefronts featured elsewhere on It’s his/her auction, he/she has the right to put whatever arbitrary rule they want.
    If I don’t want to do business with people with the last name of Watanabe because a girl named Watanabe broke my heart 20 years ago, then, dammit, I won’t. If I don’t want bids from people from Fukushima because I have an irrational fear of radiation, then it’s my prerogative. If this seller has a (baseless, ignorant) view that they can’t do business with foreigners (maybe because they had a bad experience with a foreigner before? Who knows…), then so be it. Is it rude? Yes. Is it repugnant? Yes. Is it the mark of a very flawed and stunted person? Yes. Is it illegal and a violation of terms of service? No.
    What is interesting is that he/she says: オークション終了後に取引相手が外国人と分かりましたら落札者都合で削除いたします。 Great. Win the auction and call yourself Watanabe. If you are really cunning while doing the transaction, then he/she would never know and, after you have received the merchandise then you can tell them, 「おい! 外国人と取引してしまったよ! So, how’d that no-gaijin rule work for you?」 Ta-da!
    Yahoo doesn’t need to be involved in this. It’s not their responsibility and I don’t think they have anything in their ToS that disqualifies things like this. I’ve done about 100 auctions on Yahoo. Most folks do not care who/what you are. Of that 100 or so times, twice I’ve had sellers who have been apprehensive about dealing with foreigners. Engaging the seller directly and putting their fears to rest has always resolved the situation. And, hopefully, the seller has learned something in the process.

  • I have seen this kinda xenophobia in Yahoo auctions many time. I can say the easiest solution is using your Japanese friends or wife’s account to do the business… Also, as far as I know, it’s pretty common that seller delete bidder’s bid without any reason…score too low, bidding price too low, foreigner…

    I notice there are some common excuses for Japanese to do racism:”If, you don’t like my rule, don’t come” or “Being fair to foreigner is being unfair to us”
    I knew those are fallacies,but I haven’t found any good way to argue with it…

  • In my experience, I would report the matter to in the US, who share our cultural sense of non-racism. They are more likely to take action. Yahoo japan will not see the trouble in this at all, because of the racist cultural norm in Japan, and will shrug the whole thing off by saying that the seller has the right to refuse bids.
    Of course, you could always find a similar item somewhere else (some where happy to take your money), and let idiots like this carry on with their micro-economic suicide.

  • When you said “what he did about it” in the title I was expecting an amusing tale of stalking the seller and bidding on all his auctions, then pulling out with “aha! I’m a foreigner”. That would have been more fun. (I concede it might not have achieved a great deal.)

    As for the commenters who say that the seller can do what he wants, well maybe legally he can (in Japan) but it’s still racist and objectionable. Which was the point of the OP, I believe.

  • they seem to forget that yahoo is an american company so that means its a global international company so that means that they need to play by the rules in yahoo japan or you can file a claim with there
    EE office in California.

  • Jim, ‘cultural sense of non-racism’ in the US? Really? ‘Racist cultural norm in Japan’…

    It’s very frustrating that comments like this are allowed to be part of a conversation amongst adults. This is a Yahoo Japan auction dealer. Contact the dealer if you disagree with his auction, and if harassment is directed at you, contact Yahoo Japan.

  • @Icarus;
    ‘cultural sense of non-racism’ in the US? Really? ‘Racist cultural norm in Japan’…’
    Yes, really. Last time I checked, the US had a black president (God bless Tupac, he surely did not ‘live to see a black president, uh’). Can’t imagine that happening in Japan….

  • Everyone saying “Yahoo is an American company, file a claim with them!” seem to forget that Yahoo! Japan is an (almost) completely separate entity from Yahoo! and Softbank is Yahoo! Japan’s majority stockholder. Its American namesake holds just about one-third of Yahoo! Japan’s stocks. Besides (US-)Yahoo is desperately trying to sell its share in Yahoo! Japan, so the ties were never really close to begin with.

    Unfortunately the “no bids from foreigners (please)!” is all too common on Yahoo auctions and similar sites. Real everyday Japan is a walled garden (noone in, noone out for too long!) and so is virtual Japan (mixi, Yahoo Japan, Rakuten, etc. etc.)

    Japan probably needs another decade or two before globalization arrives. This IMHO, amongst other things, goes hand in hand with its economic demise.

  • As another anecdote, I had a great yahoo auctions account that I lost due to neglect. My feedback of over 250 transactions on that account was rated at almost 100%, which was achieved by purely purchasing. I found that buying was not a problem, but selling.

    Eager to see some items last year, I started a brand spanking new account (of course with zero feedback.) Even though I played the yahoo auctions game according to the rules, buyers did not. People bid without any sincere intention of actually paying for the items, and would quickly request I cancel their winning bid. I was surprised this is possible, as Ebay has rules against this type of behaviour.

    This went on for 6 separate re-listings, until I came across a person who seemed genuine. However the transaction reached a halt with his email that said, “Pardon me for asking, but are you a foreigner?” (in Japanese.) He had noticed the unusual name on my bank account. When I confirmed his suspicion, he changed his tone remarkably, and began to lecture me in a condescending manner with long emails. He did not purchase the item in the end, and by that time I had lost patience and flat out called him a racist.

    Now my negative feedback column has a long tirade from said racist. I’ve lost hope in generating any trust with my yahoo account to sell anything.

  • This would be illegal in Netherlands and in the EU.

    Agencies such as this:

    ensure that we Europeans abide by EU human rights requirements.

    Article 21

    makes it clear than in the EU one cannot discriminate on the basis of nationality.

    The seller is manifestly engaged in such discrimination.

    It is a great poverty that Japan does not recognize and honour fundamental human rights.

    As the UN said on 21 March 2011:

    “Finally, there is no legislation in Japan that manifestly prohibits and punishes racial discrimination. Various United Nations bodies, in particular the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination[5] and the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,[6] have urged Japan to adopt such legislation. As noted by these experts, the absence of domestic legislation often precludes victims of racial discrimination from seeking judicial remedies, particularly against the State.”

    It is little wonder that one must apply to US or foreign headquarters who may incorporate requirements against xenophobia and racism.

    Moreover, it should be shocking, in light of Japanese historical racism, that it has no such legislation.

    It clearly implies that Japanese as a people do not find either their gross violations of human rights in the past during World War 2, or current racism that exists, to be at all a source of concern.

  • these big global companies all have departments that take care of these problems and believe me from experience if you do make a claim you will be given a case number and it will be investigated regardless if it happened in japan or america. I have experience with this type of thing and when the head office in NY started checking with the Tokyo office then they all got embarrassed at the Tokyo office, and then heads started to roll.

  • I’d wager that there isn’t necessary to go to the extent of lodging a legal claim against Yahoo US or Japan – call me optimistic, but they are probably quite reasonable about this sort thing.

    Having looked into it very (*very*) briefly, while the Yahoo US ToS (Terms of Service) expressly prohibits this sort of nonsense – see Yahoo! ToS Article 6: Member Conduct –

    “You agree to not use the Yahoo! Services to:

    upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;” (I’d call it racially objectionable…)

    – there does not appear to be any corresponding provision in the Yahoo! Japan 利用規約. The closest thing I could find (again, looking at it VERY briefly) is – Article 7 サービス利用にあたっての順守事項:



    Query, therefore, whether this 行為 would violate the 社会規範・公序良俗. In any event, it’s wholly discretionary.

    Finally, although Marco is correct that Yahoo US holds only 34.75% of Y!J’s shares, as opposed to Softbank’s 35.45%, there is always going to be a licensing agreement as Y!US’s M&A lawyers are not likely to let a non-wholly owned subsidiary (or any subsidiary for that matter) get away without some sort of binding legal stipulation as to what it must and must not do when they are effectively operating under the Yahoo! brand.

    There does appear to be a licensing agreement, with Brand Guidelines attached as an appendix, and these would have likely been drafted such that they survive even the complete sale of Yahoo!’s shares in the venture. I’ve not read either document (go right ahead if you have the time), but my sense is that, having dealt with these things before, that the management would have decided that the “They’re only a subsidiary, and we only have a one-third shareholding”-excuse wouldn’t really cut it as a PR policy with the American populace.

    Again, it may just be worth flagging it with the US headquarters and see how they respond… nothing to lose…

  • My wife sells on ebay, and 99% of her customers are foriegn, but we do get most of our complaints from USA, whinny types, but never any xenophobia. I get the impression, however, that some of them have dealt with Japanese before, and have a short fuse for any crap, so thats why the attitude.

  • A Man In Japan says:

    I have always got my waiffu to get stuff for me from Yahoo auctions and I have looked through pages by my self, and this is the first time I’ve seen a message like this.
    Maybe I just didn’t see it at the time, but it’s the sort of thing I look for when looking at stuff on there.
    On a different note; I wouldn’t recommend buying any second hand guitars or basses from auction sites, OR “recycle shops” because chances are the neck is probably warped or the frets are un-level. I know from experience.

  • Thanks D In Aichi for the link.

    This guy apparently has a real problem for foreigners.
    While the auction notes say “また、トラブル続出のため、外国人の方とは取引は取引実績が30以上ある方としかいたしません”, his profile says “なお、外国人の方とはトラブルが多いので取引いたしません”. Needless to say, the two are mutually contradictory.
    Further, a foreigner is one who does not have Japanese citizenship. Citizenship may be received by birth, acquired, and also lost. He must have those magical glasses that are able to see (or read) citizenship. In any case, it is unclear the relevance between purchasing and citizenship.

    His response to comments going back back more than five years also show similar nonsense.

    “相手の外国人とメールのやり取りに限界を感じたため削除しました。何度こちらが質問しても関係のない違うことばかり書いてきたためお取引は無理だと感じました。 (評価日時:2006年 12月 5日 12時 25分)”

    He may have had difficulties with an individual, but the fact that the individual did not have Japanese citizenship is immaterial. Such disagreements are equally possible with Japanese citizens as well. But perhaps in his mind if the person naturalizes things would be different.

    “相手の外国人とメールのやり取りに限界を感じたため削除しました。オークション参加の資格制限(外国人の場合は日本語検定の2級保有者など)を設けて資格証明書の確認を行った上で参加できるようにしてほしいです。 (評価日時:2006年 12月 5日 12時 29分)”

    Same as above. However, now the complaint links foreigness with language ability. But the 日本語検定 is not a test for foreigners. Sure, foreigners are welcome to take it, but nearly all testees are native speakers of Japanese. Surely 日本語能力試験 is more applicable.

    But more importantly, he is confusing citizenship with language ability. There are Japanese who cannot speak Japanese, and there are non-Japanese who speak Japanese. I can only imagine the outrage of Japanese citizens needing to prove their language ability just to participate in an auction. And same for non-Japanese as well.

    — You’re expecting rationality and ideological consistency from bigots?

  • @Curious,

    Do you still have those emails that your prospective buyer sent? I’m interested in what sort of lecture a person on the internet would have to give a foreigner that dared to try and sell something in Japan. Just for entertainment’s sake, if nothing else.

  • @Mumei, and Debito #20

    I was thinking about that comment (#20), and a lot of it doesn’t make sense. The only thing that comes through clearly is that the seller is only interested in bidders with Japanese citizenship. So that made me think that maybe this is some kind of Yahoo scam by a Japanese scam artist, and he may intend exploit Japanese law in some way.

    @Charuzu #15
    ‘Moreover, it should be shocking, in light of Japanese historical racism, that it has no such legislation.

    It clearly implies that Japanese as a people do not find either their gross violations of human rights in the past during World War 2, or current racism that exists, to be at all a source of concern.’

    It is shocking.
    I have always said that Japanese society learned nothing from losing the war, and is still locked into a racist Imperialistic ideology.

    @Marco #12
    I agree with your sentiments completely, and expect Japanese society to become increasing narrow minded as it becomes more economically feeble.

  • Hi, guys!!!

    This is Jeff Smith….glad you all put in your comments and thoughts! Debito really worked quick with me on putting this out there: thank you again! I agree with people who say “take it up with the dealer, not Yahoo Auction,” however, the fact of the matter is that this person was not monitored by Yahoo Japan, which is the crux of the matter. Everybody gets burned in an auction, but this comment is a rant from a person who had a very high rating as a seller, and thus the person should have enough self-respect to avoid seeming immature

  • Another John Says:
    February 17th, 2012 at 9:43 am

    “So what? This is a non-issue, in my view. I support the seller. It’s his/her auction, he/she has the right to put whatever arbitrary rule they want.”

    Maybe so, but it is one thing to make that decision privately and another to post it publicly. Even if the person who started the auction has the right to deny bids, people certainly have the right to report him for offensive and racist, exclusionary remarks.

    Jim Di Griz Says:
    ‘cultural sense of non-racism’ in the US? Really? ‘Racist cultural norm in Japan’…’

    America does not have a cultural sense of “non-racism” it is a colony break away from England and as a colony is therefore picky about its immigrants. This “non racism” stuff is relatively new and political. Japan’s culture of xenophobia is also political and pushed from the top. In either case, the cultural relativist argument is ignorant, over looking and dangerous, there are Japanese who don’t believe in that Nihonjinron junk, but all of this is missing the point here.

    That point being xenophobia is a huge issue in Japan and all forms of it must be confronted and brought out into the public where it can be debated. Only then can Japan begin the journey to reach the “crossroads” that numerous magazines and books always talk about.

  • @Tom R #24
    Can you seriously imagine the day when you live to see a white or black Japanese Prime Minister? The US is light-years ahead of Japan in terms of non-discriminatory social norms. Even at it’s very worst, racists in America understand that they hold a minority and socially unacceptable point of view. Japanese law doesn’t even recognize the fact of racial discrimination.

  • Also, Mumei and D: THANK YOU for pointing out the individual’s past tirades…..cannot believe the ratings he/she has accumulated given comments like that in full view; any person of integrity would feel uncomfortable doing business with someone like that, foreign or Japanese, I would have hoped. All respect!

  • another good way to get the attention of yahoo japan is to do a public boycott of yahoo japan until they correct there internal problems.

  • Just to offer my personal experience: I have dealt with Yahoo-Japan Auctions and Rakuten Auctions hundreds and hundreds of times and have never once experienced a problem.

    To the issue at hand: perhaps this seller is using ‘foreigner’ carelessly the way many Japanese do, with the implication that it means a person living abroad, and not necessarily foreigners acculturated, and living in Japan. Hotels fell into this trap a few years ago when they misinterpreted the two and were IDing people based on appearance rather than residency. It seems they have now grown wise to the distinction.

    If it turns out that this person is concerned with his buyer’s nationality, then notifying Yahoo Auctions, and/or perhaps reasoning with him on a personal level are the only ways to go. The irony is that in order to review a seller’s auction practices one has to have successfully purchased something from the individual. Not possible in this case.

  • The guy sounds as dodgy as hell – I’m sure his guitars are also dodgy. I’d avoid him like the plague – but I do hope yahoo comes down on him like a ton of bricks and he loses his online business.

  • That Yahoo seller was obviously racist.

    Hey, here’s a quick question for everyone:

    1. IN YOUR SUBJECTIVE OPINION, what percentage of Ethnically-Non-Japanese people in their hearts simply don’t like people who are of a different ethnicity than themselves?

    2. IN YOUR SUBJECTIVE OPINION, what percentage of Ethnically-Japanese people in their hearts simply don’t like people who are of a different ethnicity than themselves?

    (Not an objective, scientific, double-blind study, this is simply a subjective estimation poll.)

    Some people estimate the percentages to be equal, for example:
    1. 7%
    2. 7%

    Just to get the ball rolling, I’ll give my estimations:
    1. 20%
    2. 33%

    So, based on your experiences, what are your estimations?
    1. X%
    2. Y%

  • All that has to be done is to leave negative feedback; as Jeff has done. This makes prospective buyers think twice about buying from a guy with a low rating.

    Problem is, if its just because the reason is “seller doesnt deal with foreigners”- for those prospects reading that far-it may not deter a lot of Japanese buyers.But I think Jeff put it under “fraud”.

    Yahoo Japan is pretty strict; even “sudden withdrawl from sale/purchase” or “a bit late to reply” is enough to incur negative votes. I replied one day after a sale one time-not late i thought, but the anal guy (they re usually guys buying this geek stuff on yahoo Japan)complained quite loudly.

    So just flag this guy.The more the merrier.

  • Well Fly, as there was no option for “xenophobic bitter nutzo” I could only flag him or her for fraud, as e person would welsh on a deal upon realizing a buyers’ nationality….a laugh to say the least. I’m very sure slot of Japanese folks were and are turned off by ridiculous comments such as the ones on that auction.

  • Will:

    Regarding your poll:

    “1. IN YOUR SUBJECTIVE OPINION, what percentage of Ethnically-Non-Japanese people in their hearts simply don’t like people who are of a different ethnicity than themselves?

    2. IN YOUR SUBJECTIVE OPINION, what percentage of Ethnically-Japanese people in their hearts simply don’t like people who are of a different ethnicity than themselves?”

    I would offer the diffident thought that it is not relevant.

    What matters is not what are the innermost feelings of individuals.

    What matters is whether Japanese can lawfully act to enforce their racism or xenophobia.

    In other words, in the Netherlands, we continue to have racists (Geert Wilders party attracts many such).

    However, we have laws that forbid racist and xenophobic actions.

    Of course, it is true that laws and education have, over generations, an impact on public attitudes.

    Nevertheless, it is the absence of Japanese laws that forbid racist actions or xenophobic actions that is shocking.

    Whether a Japanese merchant likes me or dislikes me for my foreignness is irrelevant — I do not intend to befriend the merchant.

    The fact though that any Japanese merchant can say to me — I do not like foreigners, so you may not purchase medication, perhaps even desperately necessary medication, from my chemist’s shop — is highly relevant.

    Could a Japanese food shop lawfully decide to not sell to foreigners?

    Could the Japanese government (perhaps not at a national level, but at a lower level, lawfully support such a boycott of foreigners?

    And, if so, does this not eerily resemble similar governmentally sponsored boycotts that the Germany Reich enforced?

    If minorities have no rights, but exist merely at the pleasure or sufferance of majorities, then that is a very precarious place.

    And, after Japanese governmental acts such as those documented at this museum:

    with no law barring racist or xenophobic actions, what should one reasonably conclude as to potential future Japanese actions?

    Japanese political leaders say:

    that no atrocities occurred.

    This also lends credence to the belief that Japanese have no such laws barring racism because they wish to preserve the right to act in the future, much as they did in the past.

  • In regards to yahoo auctions…

    I have over 400 trades and 100% positive feedback and I SELL 50 times at least more than I buy. Sometimes the buyer finds out that Im a foreigner. It never really becomes an issue though as I trade fairly and take returns when something falls over. I have also met 5 or 6 of my buyers in person and as soon as they realized that I speak Japanese they were more than happy to deal with me. Also, they call me and ask me directly for items now that they need.

    Overwhelmingly positive experiences only for me. Sorry to hear about that guitar sellers attitude. I will add them to my substantial blacklist just because of their rudeness.

  • @Will
    Your question is irrelevant.
    People are free to think what they like, however xenophobic it is. However, most countries understand that for the proper conduct of civil society, racism must not be permitted, and make laws to protect individuals against it. Japan does not, and that should tell you rather a great deal about how ‘civil’ Japan’s civil society is.
    Germany seems to have managed to outlaw nazism and denial whilst still protecting the democratic right of an individual to freedom of speech. It is a shame that Japan hides behind the freedom of speech meme in order to allow the continuation of wartime propoganda and nanking denials. I wonder how the Japanese would take it if we stood in the park at Hiroshima and claimed that the atomic bombing ‘never took place’?

  • Noticed this discussion a lil’ late. Cool down, folks. First of all, Yahoo Japan is de-facto a Japanese company, like it or not. And it has outdone eBay in Japan (I’ve witnessed the whole process almost a decade ago).
    As someone who makes a large part of his income by selling on Yahoo Japan, I’ve come to like my Japanese clientele. I started on Yahoo Japan in early 2003, and I have close to 7000+ FB and no negs, as a foreign seller (!). Know your buyers, know how to deal with them.
    Nothing in my auctions state, that I’m a foreigner, and many first-time buyers are quite surprised to find a foreign name next to the Japanese bank account, when they get their bill. So far, I had one buyer, who seemed surprised that NJ could register on Yahoo Japan. I politely pointed out the User Agreement, he paid, he got his merchandise, we exchanged positive FB, and he came back for more… ;-).

    I found the ratio of “non-readers” to “readers” (i.e. those who don’t read description and terms as opposed to those who do) to be better than on eBay, where every little illiterate whino can be assured of mommy PayPal’s helping hand, but even on Yahoo Japan, we have the odd “non-reader”. Maybe the seller has run into more NJ “non-readers” than Japanese “non-readers”. Much also depends on the category,
    with some having a higher ratio of クレーマー buyers.

    One of the basic requirements to register on Yahoo Japan is the ability to communicate in Japanese. It’s somewhere in the User Agreement that I had read a looong time ago. I have dealt with NJ buyers on Yahoo, and found out they’re using the same Yen as Japanese buyers… [/irony]

    On eBay, I have found the odd auction with what could be considered racist remarks (“I don’t ship to XYZ, because XYZtians always claim their money back”). Those auctions weren’t pulled. However, auctions that contain anti-PayPal remarks usually get nuked in an instant…

    Personally, I have a policy when buying. I read everything. If I don’t like what I’m reading, I hit the back button. If some wise guy doesn’t want my money, he won’t get it! Full stop…

  • This is an old post, but I have recently had a winning bid canceled and negative feedback left on my YS account (used for buying only) simply because I am a foreigner and I am not sure what to do. Is there anyone out there willing to help me out? My Japanese is not good enough to deal with this sort of situation, and I fear I may have already screwed up by leaving them a negative for racist behavior. But I feel it was justified.


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