Live abroad and buying Japanese books a costly and inconvenient task? Luckily Amazon JP has a few loopholes to let those outside Japan do this.
Follow this guide to download Japanese books easily to read on your Kindle or Kindle Ap and avoid pricey import shops.
What you’ll need:
- Any Kindle Paperwhite, iPad, iPhone or Android Device.
- A credit card
- Free Japanese Mailing Address
- Free Japan VPN called Tunnelbear with Chrome Extension
Click here to signup for Tunnelbear, IMO the most reliable and easy to use VPN. Plus if you use it for free you’ll get 1GB per month FREE!
Foreign cards aren’t checked against their address in Japan. Because of that Amazon JP allows foreign credit cards to be used on their site. I have both a Japanese and US credit card I use regularly depending on the exchange rate.
Click here to start by switching the language to English. Then, create an account on Amazon.co.jp.
Register your account by clicking here. Where it says ‘Name Pronunciation’ just enter the same name again.
Login to this Amazon JP account via your Kindle iOS/Android app, or Kindle Paperwhite. This registers it to your account. If you’ve already registered your kindle, you’ll need to switch accounts by logging into your US Amazon account, click here to open ‘Manage Your Content and Devices’ , click the ‘Settings’ tab and select Japan as your ‘Country of Residence’.
Browse Kindle Books
Test your device with a free book. The kindle you registered should show up in the options of “Sent it to…”.
学問のおすすめ is free. Download it to test if it worked.
I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy being able to read manga on a Kindle. I also love the fact that the Kindle now has a Japanese to Japanese dictionary. It lets me read Japanese novels and short stories without pulling out my iPhone on a crowded train to lookup words I don’t know. That is, if I can pull pull my hand out of my pockets on the crowded morning trains here…
One more important thing…
For users who already had a Kindle and books purchased via an Amazon US accounts, Amazon prompts you to link those accounts if your country of residence is set to Japan on your non-JP account. However, I have mixed feelings about it all after linking my two accounts together.
- Can import all your titles from your US account.
- Can now finally read Japanese books and comics, legally.
- 1-touch word lookup via included dictionary (requires advanced ability as it’s Japanese to Japanese)
- No gifting allowed on Amazon Japan.
- You’re banned from both buying and gifting Kindle books on your Amazon US account (most birthday gifts I send people are Kindle books so I’m pissed).
- Kindles before the Paperwhite and PC/Mac Kindle software cannot receive Japanese titles.
- Titles and periodicals not available in the Amazon JP store are no longer available for purchase (e.g. Harvard Business Review).
- Cannot unlink accounts.
- I have no doubt that much of these restrictions were because of the publisher agreements and if you’re at all familiar with doing business in Japan, you know how stubbornly and behind-the-times Japanese companies operate. But I would think, for revenue’s sake at least, that gifting would still be enabled. For the lazy expats like myself who’ve relied on Kindle gifting for a solid two years, this really really sucks.
NOTE: You can make a duplicate account on another region (e.g. US) and gift yourself books or others. It’s fine if the credit card and address are same too!