If you’re a card collector, you might have noticed Japanese Pokémon are sold at higher prices compared to their  English counterparts. You might be wondering “Are Japanese Pokemon cards worth more than English cards?” Here, I’ll answer your question in detail.

The Pokémon franchise introduced Japanese Pokemon cards in 1996 while in other parts of the world, they were introduced in 1999. These cards are available worldwide in different languages including Japanese and English, which is why many differences exist between them. Among these, only Japanese Pokemon cards are popular with premium-quality prints.

In this article, we will explore how Japanese Pokemon cards are more worthy than English cards. I’ll go deep into the world of Pokémon cards, illuminating the differences between Japanese and English cards. Keep reading!

What precisely are Japanese Pokémon cards?

Japanese Pokémon cards are trading cards from the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) with various Pokémon characters. These cards are designed primarily for the Japanese market and are made and distributed in Japan. While they are pretty similar to English Pokémon cards in many ways, there are a few key differences:

  1. Pokémon names, attacks, and card descriptions are all Japanese on Japanese Pokémon cards. Due to the language barrier, non-Japanese speakers may struggle to use them while gaming.
  2. Some Japanese Pokémon cards have different artwork than their English equivalents. Collectors enjoy these one-of-a-kind photographs.
  3. Pokémon cards are frequently issued in Japan before their English counterparts. It implies that new sets and expansions are typically available first in Japan.
  4. Japanese Pokémon card sets may contain exclusive cards not found in English sets. Collectors may place a great value on these limited-edition cards.
  5. High-quality printing, rich colours, and sharp artwork define Japanese Pokémon cards. Many collectors appreciate the attention to detail in these cards.
  6. Due to scarcity, “first edition” varieties of Japanese Pokémon cards are often more valuable.

Japanese Pokémon cards make up a sizable share of the global Pokémon TCG community. Collectors and gamers worldwide seek them out to add to their collections or decks because of their distinct characteristics.

Are Japanese Pokémon Cards worth more than English Pokémon cards? Differences and Reasons

So now, you might be wondering what are the reasons that make Japanese cards superior to English cards. And you might also have a question “Are Japanese Pokémon Cards worth more than English Pokémon cards”. Here, we’ll discuss why Japanese cards are worth more by highlighting the major differences between these cards.

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Card designs

  1. Card back: This is a major difference between  Japanese and English Pokémon cards. Earlier,  Japanese cards had an old Pocket Monster design on the back which is changed now, while English cards possess blue back.
  2. Holofile: Japanese cards are famous for having holofile patterns. Due to these patterns, they shine in different colours when placed against light. This is also a reason why many collectors prefer Japanese cards over English cards.  They also have a glossy finish, which makes them superior to other cards. Additionally, promo cards are equipped with special holofoil patterns making them unique and rare.
  3. Border colour: If we talk about the border, Japanese cards have a silver border while English cards come with a yellow border. According to collectors, the silver colour tends to look better compared to the yellow colour and it makes Japanese Pokemon cards stand out.

Manufacturing and Quality

Japanese Pokemon cards are well known due to their high quality and grading without any misprints. They have perfect corners, edges, and centre. English Pokemon cards often possess rough corners and edges with poor centring. Print lines are also much more common on English cards.

You can easily assess the quality of these cards by observing their surface, corners, edges and centre.

  1. Surface: To check printing lines on the surface of the card, place it under light and slowly move it, thus focusing on the reflection. These lines are present across the foil area. Apart from print lines, also check for any dots, spelling mistakes, print errors or blemishes.
  2. Corners: Examine the corners of the card whether they are smooth or rough. In the case of Japanese Pokemon cards, the corners are smooth and perfectly round. There are no jagged cuts, this is how you can differentiate them from other cards.
  3. Edges: The edges of the Japanese Pokemon cards are smooth and perfect without any dull blades.While English POkemon cards may have rough and cut edges.
  4. Centring: Usually Pokemon cards have yellow borders, but Japanese Pokemon cards have silver borders with a central black line.
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Paper quality

With high quality, Japanese cards are actually thinner. You can easily spot the difference as English Pokemon cards are thick and don’t allow light to pass through them. Japanese cards are made of thin paper.

First Edition

Japanese Pokemon cards are worth more than American cards because the first edition symbol used on these cards is different from the English counterparts. They are part of the first group of cards released and considered original. They all possess a large number “1” on the top of the word “EDITION”( printed in capital letters between two horizontal lines). It’s present in the lower right corner of the Pokemon cards. They are thought to be the first of their kind on the market, that’s why more pricer.


The availability of these cards affects their prices in the market. Generally. Japanese cards are more expensive than English cards, especially when it comes to rare or exclusive cards. If you’re a collector outside Japan, Japanese Pokemon cards are rarer and difficult to obtain.

English Pokemon cards are cheaper, affordable and widely available, so there is no need to import or purchase them through third-party sellers.

Pull value

When comparing items, pull rates are an important factor to consider. Chase cards and top hits got more difficult to obtain as the franchise continued, and the most sought-after cards, like the Umbreon Vmax from Evolving Skies / Eevee Heroes, are highly rare. However, Japanese booster boxes guarantee at least one Secret Rare card, which is appreciated by collectors because it ensures that you are receiving something excellent for your money, whereas English Pokémon Booster boxes DO NOT.

Special Japanese sets, like Vstar Universe, guarantee at least one hit, which was not the case for English Pokémon Cards until the release of Scarlet & Violet.

Exclusive products

When it comes to highly sought-after exclusive products for Pokémon cards, Japan is at the top of the list.  Collectors of sealed things, promo cards, and special movie releases frequently seek out these rare cards. They include the iconic Munch Scream Pokémon card line as well as the Precious Collector Box.

Release dates and sales

Collectors prefer Japanese Pokemon cards because they’re released a few months earlier compared to English cards. For your better understanding, here is an example: Blue Sky Stream was released on July 8, 2021, two months before the release of Evolving Skies in English.

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Pokemon Company sold approximately 3.7 Billion cards in 2021 which is a record itself.

On eBay Japan, Shiny Star V was the most sold product. Japanese Pokemon cards are sold more in North America than in Japan.

Japanese Pokemon Cards

English Pokemon Cards

High-quality cards

Low-quality cards

Low price

High price

More exclusive

Less exclusive

Card border is silver

Card border is yellow

Grading is easy

Grading is hard

Higher pull rates

Lower pull rates

Many reverse holo patterns

Only a few reverse holo patterns

Each box contains 10 packs

Each box contains 36 packs

One pack as 5 cards

One pack has 10 cards


To summarize, while Japanese Pokémon cards frequently have an advantage in quality, rarity, and exclusivity, their worth isn’t entirely dictated by their country of origin. The value of a Pokémon card is a multidimensional equation that considers elements including rarity, edition, demand, and condition.

So, for anyone considering getting into Pokémon card collecting or trading, remember that a card’s genuine value lies not only in its material attributes but also in the passion it inspires in collectors. Hopefully, this article has addressed your query “Are Japanese Pokemon cards worth more?” and now you can make informed collecting and investing decisions.


1. Are Japanese or American cards worth more?

For sure, it is worth buying Japanese Pokémon cards as they give some extra perks to its collectors. They’re more expensive and valuable than American cards. Additionally, they’ve better print, high quality and easier grading.

2. Should I collect Japanese or American Pokemon cards?

If you’re looking for rare, high quality and authentic cards, Japanese cards are the way to go. It’s better to collect Japanese Pokemon cards as they contain some rare cards that have a higher pull rate.

3. Why do Japanese Pokemon cards sell more?

Because Pokemon cards first originated in Japan, there are some exclusive cards that will never get an English copy and you can only buy them at Japan’s Pokemon center. Ergo, a promo only released in Japan, is the most valuable  Pikachu Illustrator.