Buying A Cartridge Direct From Japan

Seems like there can be some decent savings when buying certain cartridges directly from Japan, vs buying from here in the US. Since I'm just learning about cartridges, would there be any kind of difference between a Japan model and a US model, maybe electrically or something, that would prevent using a Japan model here in the US? I would think they would be exactly the same, but I want to be sure before I maybe do anything. Thanks.
Cartridge is a worldwide device... Can be from anywhere.. and used anywhere else in the world and be OK.
You would not have a US warrantee or domestic support if something goes wrong.
Both previous posters are correct. You can buy it cheaper, and it will work the same, but there is an associated risk. If you are willing to accept the risk, go for it.
Dear Duvallite: It's not so easy for a foreigner person to buy in Japan with out been there.

Cartridges are a very delicate items nad more than one time cartridges can comes with problems and you will have no one to claim for it.

I think that if you don't have enough money to bought a cartridge it's better even buy it second hand through sites as Agon.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Thanks, that's pretty much what I was thinking. The risk seems minimal. I've only seen a couple of threads where someone mentioned they had received a defective new cartridge. I'm thinking it's probably a rare exception to get a bad one, but I don't really know. Maybe Murphy's Law comes into play, maybe not. Btw, I'm looking at a Nagaoka MP-500 from over there. Thanks again.
I am in the US and have bought from both Germany and Japan. I dealt with reputable companies and I believe that, should I have had problems, the vendors would stand behind the products that I purchased. On the other hand, a return would involve another round of international shipping, so caveat emptor.
Dear Viridian: Could you share your source in Japan?

Thank's in advance.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Does anyone have a direct source in Japan for purchasing Denon cartridges for less than Comet Supply? If so, please provide source.
Try 2juki on ebay...Seems reputable , I ordered A Denon from him once.
Better to buy second hand thru Audiogon? How much did they pay you to type that?

Especially considering the delicacy of a cart, I think a new new cart, shipped insured and packed correctly from any country would be less of a risk than going through Audiogon second hand.

While I have certainly bought second-hand carts here, I understood the risks I was taking and for the price asked was willing to accept that risk.

But would I sleep better buying new from Japan than 2nd hand from Audiogon? You betcha.
I would say the Japanese are more trustworthy than most the people on audiogon. A lot of Japanese companies will not take your US credit card and/or ship to a US address. Shipping is cheap and quick though. I just got a huge box sent here for $25 in 5 days. It would have cost me more than that within the US!

2juki is reputable even if he is in China. I will never buy direct from there again though after recently being ripped off.
I don't care from which country the cart that I am looking
for is posted. My own listings are always worldwide. I am
cheated 'only' twice by sellers from Germany. They don't
like paypal ( fees?) so one need to pay via bank-transfer.
But there is no protection by bank-transfer. Many Germans
however limit their shipping to Germany believing that
only the Germans are trustworthy. Those are prejudices
based on assumptions or some bad experience with some
sellers from some countries. Well in 'contradiction' to
my own experience the most items I have bought in Germany.
The same prejudice I see regular by the British and American
sellers on ebay. Are all Americans with God knows which origin
trustworhty and all other 'countries' untrustworthy?
I've used 2juki (ebay) for a new cartridge. Very happy with my purchase. He offered a week or two return option then, but not sure if he still does now.
Raul, my pleasure, I have purchased both from Audiocubes2 and from JICO directly. I have a friend that also had good luck with EIFL.
Have bought from 2Juki several times- have never been disappointed.

Good Listening

I have bought from 2juki twice, and both times have worked out very well.
buying used carts is always a very delicate matter. I know that it became very popular in the MM arena. But regarding MC carts from my personal experiences I would be very careful with certain platforms in Japan like
otomon_vintage. Usally the are not operated by Japanese. Having lived in Japan I know the difference and how it works. Japanese are very honest and trustworthy people in general.
I would prefer 2Juki or TopClass Audio (both Hongkong based). I also made good experiences with other sellers in HKK and Australia and also with Joynetcafe in Japan. Hope this helps.
I've received two from 2juki and he is a very professional plus trustworthy person. Would purchase from again. Listening to my RP6 with GT ref sub platter and the AT 33PTG/II and could not be happier with the combo.
Those of you in the USA who purchased from 2juki - did you have to pay import/tariff taxes?
I too bought from 2juki with no problems and no import tariffs.
12-08-13: Dlcockrum
Those of you in the USA who purchased from 2juki - did you have to pay import/tariff taxes?

Hi Duvallite, Your question is very clear: how to buy direct in Japan. All the answers avoid this question. As if we are unaware of Juki, Otomon, Toxan or whomever from Japan who buy their stuff second hand in Japan and resell on I have bougth my carts from everywhere in the world except from Japan. So I am also interested in any address in Japan where I can buy without intermediary.I was not able to find any. Considering the fact that Japan is very dependant from export this is very strange situation. China is much more easy to approach so I got my Jasmine LP2 phono-pre direct from China without any problem. The arrogant Japanese can learn from China and need to do so very fast in order to survive. Anyway that is my opinion.
It's possible to buy Yamamoto Sound Craft products (headshells, leads, etc.) directly off their website. Curiously, their cartridges aren't presently available on the site, but I don't see why you couldn't email them and order them should you be so inclined.
Dear Banquo 363, As you can see from the title of this thread the question was about carts. It may be interesting for whomever to know about headshells, leads, ETC. (what
do you mean with 'etc' btw ?) but headshells and leads we can get everywhere. I myself am interested in those Highphonic carts while Otomon, Toxan, ETC. don't even bother to answer my questions.
I have bought directly from HiFiDo, Otoman Vintage, Joynet Cafe and Jico on numerous occasions and have had no troubles.......
Dear Henry, Those names are intermediary. You can buy directly from me many Japanese carts (grin). You already got one from Holland. That is however not 'the' question.
Dear Nikola,
I think you might find that Jico are not quite as "intermediary" as you?.........
Whilst your answers on this Thread may not be 'perfect'.......I'm pleased to say that your ears are certainly to be trusted......
The MIT 1 cartridge you just sent me may well be one the best cartridges I have heard?
And that is straight out of the box without 'run-in' time.....
I hope I'm not being premature? :-)
Dear Nikola,

The question was whether one can buy a cartridge directly from Japan?
One imagines that he means from a retailer as I don't believe anyone thinks they can buy directly from a manufacturer like.....Lyra, Audio Technica, Dynavector, ZYX, Koetsu, Clearaudio, Ortofon et al?
Therefore an "intermediary" (or Retailer) is implicit in the question?
I listed a number of intermediaries as well as a direct manufacturer (Jico).
Others may help with retailers who can deal with international customers....but my experience is that there are not so many?
Dear Henry, My frustration with the Japanese is not accidental. Two years ago I try to contact Ogura for our common cause. That is to say that we would be able to
order by Axel micro ridge styli and boron cantilevers made by Ogura. I even consulted J. Carr and asked him for the address which he kindly provided. But my 5 emails were never answered. Carr warned me about 'communication in English' with Japanese. Now from the Chinese I bought this excelent Jasmine LP 2 phono-pre direct from the factory for $500. I got about 10 emails from them in this connection. That is I suppose why the Chinese have ecomomic growth of 12% each year while the Japanese are in recession for 15 years.
BTW you should ask our comrade Thuchan about Otomon , etc. intermediary.
Then my MIT 1 is only meant for my Slavic brothers (grin).
I am glad to hear that you enjoy the cart but my intention was that you should 'burn in' the cart because I have no patience for such kind of job (smile).
On the other hand...lest we quickly forget. ... I refuse to do business with Japan or purchase any Japanese products as part of a personal boycott. I already have a glow in the dark t-shirt and I don't want a glow in the dark cartridge, esp. from a country that has contributed to the global pollution of the worlds oceans:

Breeding grounds are just offshore. Don't eat the Ahi.
I see no advantages, other than a pricing one, for buying from japan directly. Case in point: I had a Shelter 501 mk2 that I had purchased in the US, and then on a business trip to Tokyo picked up another as a back up in the Akihabara district from an authorized Shelter dealer. The performance was identical in every way. There are no technical advantages in my opinion.
Hi Halco,

I also own one of, actually 2 of the MIT-1's. You are not premature with your assessment. I find it very difficult to remove it from rotation once I have it installed. It's one of those cartridges that make you think while laying in bed at night wishing you had remembered to play 'this record or that record' before you turned everything off. It is a stunning cartridge to say the least!
Hello Stevecham,

I don't think it's technical advantages that people are looking for in a purchase direct from Japan. There are a lot of cartridges that were just not available outside of Japan (the AT ML 180ooc for example). Many other, like the Highphonic line were and are hard to find outside of the Japanese market. The problem is not just with direct purchase from the manufacturers, but with the auction sites as well. I being an American, can not bid on a auction site in Japan. I have to go through an intermediary with all their added costs.

Thank you I had not considered that problem.
First thing first. I think that any parents and/or educational system should teach their kids the English language. Not in order to promote Anglo/American imperialism but to give those kids the wordlwide access to information and communication. It is obvious that Japanese
have deviant opininon in this regard. Their old traditions are , it seems, more important for them. But then this huge Ogura company is not able to answer any of my 5 emails while J. Carr who lives there warned me about communication in English with the Japanese.
The intermediary. We in Holland are not able to approach Van den Hul direct. We need some dealer as an intermediary. What is the job of such a intermediary? He is a 'hatch' between the customer and the 'producer'. I need to post my cart to some dealer who will post the same cart to Van den Hul then receive the cart from Van den Hul and than post the cart to me. For this 'service' I of course need to pay this dealer. To me this make no
sense at all. So I never used Van den Hul's nor his dealer's services but prefer to post my carts direct to Axel. Whoever prefer to do this otherwise is probaly smarter than I.
What is the job of such a intermediary?

To deal with all the general questions and eliminate the time wasters, thereby allowing Van den Hul to concentrate on fixing cartridges.
For any American kettle to call any others countries pot black is the very acme of hubris.
Really........Schubert "For any American kettle to call any others countries pot black is the very acme of hubris." Hubris I like that.

Hubris: In ancient Greek, hubris referred to actions that shamed and humiliated the victim for the pleasure or gratification of the abuser. The term had a strong sexual connotation. In Greek literature, hubris usually refers to infractions by mortals against other mortals. Therefore, it is now generally agreed that the Greeks did not generally think of hubris as a religious matter, still less that it was normally punished by the gods.

As a direct nemesis and in a very Japanese way of thinking I say shame, shame, shame on you Japan.
Hello Brf,

And so because Van Del Hull doesn't want to be bothered with answering questions pertaining to 'his' business, we the buying public have to pay someone else to do it for him. Why Should it not be him that pays for the privilege of not being bothered!
Hi Brf, If you think that Van den Hul himself does those
rapairs I am sorry to disappoint you. He spends the most of
his time in Ukraine by their airspace industry. Being
secretive about his cart business does not mean that we
are imbeciles. What btw is the diference between answering
dealers or customers questions? Then by Axel one is sure that
Axel deed all the work. By Van den Hul nobody knows
who deed the work.
Griffithds, it’s the business model that vdh selected, they are a wholesaler and rely on their distribution channels to deal with the end user.

Sure vdh could bring the customer service in-house to answer general inquiries, sales fulfillment etc, but his prices would need to be increased to cover off additional staff and over head.

I guess i missed the boat on that one. I should have been charging people who had to deal with my secretary in my behalf (because I didn't want to be bothered)!
Griffihds, I assume your fees structure incorporates some level of customer interaction. When you get your car serviced do you take it direct to the manufacture or one of their authorized dealerships?
What btw is the diference between answering dealers or customers questions?

I would assume the difference is the number of inquiries.

I am not defending vdh business model, just saying there are difference wholesale approaches
I should have been charging people who had to deal with my secretary in my behalf (because I didn't want to be bothered)!
Unless your secretary is a volunteer (or you are a very poor businessman), I have to assume your secretary's salary, benefits, the cost of renting the extra space, etc., is all rolled into your pricing structure. If that's true, then you have been charging people for dealing w your secretary. But presumably, your secretary does not make as much as you so, to your customers pay less because your secretary is able to relieve some of the administrative burden from you.
Because Axel Schurholz is 'one man company' I asked him
why his wife does not help with his customers? He gets more
emails then he can answer. His answer was that his wife
then need to ask him how to answer the questions asked.
So much about (his)secretary.
I decided to join this Jauce bidding site in Japan. They are an intermediary bidding company. To bid on eBay in Japan, there is no other way to submit a bid that I'm aware of.
It must be noted that their is a $25 bidding fee that will be paid whether you win or not. Yes, even if you lose the bidding auction, you will still have to pay this $25.
I decided to make a purchase and post the findings on this forum for everyone to understand the frustrations that are being expressed.
The item I went after was a Highphonic A-3 phono cartridge.
It took some time to understand my way around this bidding site. Because the site is in Japanese, translation programs had to be implemented. Half the time, I still couldn't understand what was being said in these translations.
I received notice (email), this morning that the item has shipped, therefore I assume all charges that could occur against this auction, have been filed and paid. Nothing moves from point A to point B until the fees get paid.
The following is how it all transpired!

Deposited 2600 'Yen' into Janace bidders account.
I have converted Yen to $ for your better understanding. $1=104 Yen

This 'Yen' deposit = $249.18
Exchange rate Fee = $ 17.37
Won auction = $216.17
Auction Fee = $ 25.00
Bank Fee for Auction payment= $ 2.14
Local Delivery to Jauce warehouse = $ 8.65
Repacking of item for international ship= $ 12.00
Shipping to my home = $ 12.23
Exchange rate Fee for additional deposit
to cover shipping = $ 1.50

Total cost = $295.06
Cost of item= $216.17
Fees = $ 78.89 = 37% of auction price

Interesting adventure! All fees were % amount of selling price so the more you bid, the more the fees will be.
I can only imagine what a nightmare it would be if the item I receive is not as described or get damaged in shipment. I'm keep my fingers crossed. (grin)
So...tell me again, how long was the Japanese economy in recession? High fees and tariffs don't result in stimulating an economy. Thanks for the warning on this Japanese bidding site! I'll be avoiding it.
There are less fee intensive options than Jauce, Griffithds. The $25 fee even for a lost auction is ridiculous.
Years ago (1984?) I purchased a Dynavector cart directly from Dynavector. Done with emails and a bank transfer on the day of the sale. When the transfer was rec'd, the cart was sent.
No problems what-so-ever.