The new PSA office in Japan we’ve been telling you about now has a face—and a plan.
Scheduled to open this month in Tokyo, the new digs won’t offer on-site grading and authentication but collectors and dealers won’t face language barriers anymore. They’ll be able to drop off or mail their shipments to the office and conduct business via a website created entirely in Japanese.
Tony Aram, a bilingual financial expert and collector who has lived in Japan for more than 40 years will spearhead the new facility. The newly opened office’s website can be found at www.PSAcard.co.jp.
After researching, visiting and gauging the viability of the Japanese market, PSA officials say it’s the right time to make its formal entrance into the country. With a population of more than 127 million people, Japan represents what PSA calls an “untapped market” for sports and non-sports material.
“Because the practice of authenticating and grading cards is just now gaining popularity in Japan, there is an enormous opportunity to attract new consumers and future hobbyists to the benefits of trading card grading,” said Aram.
“PSA’s new office will provide Japanese collectors with both sports and non-sports cards a better understanding of the benefits that come with grading their collections,” said PSA President Steve Sloan. “The new location will also help to better serve the overall Asian marketplace by having its headquarters in Tokyo.”
There are five professional Japanese baseball teams within a 100-mile radius of the city as well as corporate offices for companies manufacturing and distributing non-sports cards such as Pokémon and the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG (Trading Card Game). According to Aram, baseball remains America’s most successful export to Japan and is its largest spectator sport. More than 25 million Japanese baseball fans attend games every season in the 12-team Nippon Professional Baseball League. Japanese superstars who have successfully transitioned to Major League Baseball – players such as Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui and most recently, Shohei Ohtani – have only fueled the growing interest in sports collectibles in the country.
The language barrier as well as different time zones have long been deterrents to Japanese collectors utilizing PSA’s services in the past. That all changes with the opening of PSA’s new office.
Grading and encapsulation of cards will continue to be performed stateside as bulk mail shipments will be made once a month from PSA’s Japan office to the company’s headquarters in Southern California.
In the early going, Aram estimates that 50% of the submissions coming from Japan will be of baseball cards with a heavy emphasis on players competing in the Nippon League. PSA believes non-sports cards including Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering will also be popular with customers.