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Movies, Videos, DVDs

Japan With Kids - Forums: Shopping in Japan: Movies, Videos, DVDs

By Cornelia on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 1:25 pm:

I saw an advertisement on the subway train on Saturday. You can order DVDs for Y1500 from
or imode is:

That's cheaper than in the USA at today's exchange rate (well depending on shipping and whether or not they are bi-lingual, English only or Japanese dubbed, etc. might be a good deal).

Site is in Japanese and of course I imagine that the big hits are priced higher.

By Scott Hancock on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 1:35 pm:

Just remember that DVDs are Region coded. If you buy a DVD in Japan, it will normally only be playable on DVD players bought in Japan. Many people bring DVD players from their home country.

By Gloria Torrijos on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 9:39 pm:

I have just ordered several Dvds from Amazone Germany and I´m wondering if I could watch them in the brand new lap top (Toshiba Satellite) I bought here. I was told I could use this computer all over the world. Can anybody help me with this question?
Please, email me at

By Scott Hancock on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 9:45 pm:

Using the laptop is not the same as viewing commercial DVDs on it. The software on the laptop that plays the DVDs is designed to read the region code of DVDs. Usually, you get to change the region it plays a few times and then it's locked. So, you'll be able to change the region to Europe and watch your new movies, but if you want to change it to other regions more than that, you'll probably have a problem.

It's complicated... Scott

By Bethan Hutton on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 10:08 am:

The security coding on DVDs seem to vary - we can play some UK and Australian DVDs on our laptop but not others.

Our solution: go to Akihabara to one of the export or duty-free sections of Laox, Yamagiwa etc and buy a multi-system, region-free DVD player. So far the one we bought has managed to play every DVD we have tried (from Japan, US, UK, Australia, Hong Kong), even some Disney ones that wouldn't play on our old Hong Kong-bought region-free DVD player. We don't need to reprogram the region at all.

The new one wasn't as expensive as we thought - around Y25,000 - though if you don't have a multisystem TV already you need a more expensive multisystem DVD player which can convert PAL and other formats into NTSC to play on a standard Japanese TV.

By Cornelia on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 1:07 pm:

I've also heard that there are multi-system DVD players available at Costco for under Y10,000 from time to time!

YES, Scott is right, for example with my I-Mac laptop, I only get to change the region code 4 times! This totally wipes out my plan of bringing a couple of my daughter's favorite movies with us on the plane whenever we go for the 24 hour door to door trip home to Grandpa, because we can't bring her current favorites, but have to stick to 10 DVDs I've managed to pick up that are region one. I'm hoping that eventually I can find a way to hack this particular Apple feature.

I find the whole region coding thing particularly bothersome given that I work and live in Japan, travel for 2 months every year to the USA, and travel to varioius Asian countries, AND am very fond of Chinese movies from Hong Kong an mainland. Fortunately the DVDs for sale in China are usually not region encoded. And because of my traveling life style, I have a very strong incentive to go ahead and buy "all-region" DVDs whenever possible.

From the DVD FAQ (very good info sheet)at

>>Seven regions (also called locales or zones) have been defined, and each one is assigned a number. Players and discs are often identified by their region number superimposed on a world globe. If a disc plays in more than one region it will have more than one number on the globe.
1: U.S., Canada, U.S. Territories
2: Japan, Europe, South Africa, and Middle East (including Egypt)
3: Southeast Asia and East Asia (including Hong Kong)
4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean
5: Eastern Europe (Former Soviet Union), Indian subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, and Mongolia
6: China
7: Reserved
8: Special international venues (airplanes, cruise ships, etc.)
(See the map at
Specifically to answer the question above from Gloria, since Japan and Europe are the same region, the DVDs ordered from Germany might just play without changing the region code on the computer.

By Ushka Wakelin on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 1:29 pm:

You can buy a software here that lets you play any region dvds, we have it on our pc here and it works fine, the link is here
Kind regards, Jellund

By Scott Hancock on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 8:15 pm:

The dvdidle software is intended to circumvent copyright protection, as well as the region coding. Both are legal protections of the publishers of the content.

It may be an uncool position, but I think it's important that people realize when they are violating legal protections.

Though, the status of the region encoding seems more fuzzy, but maybe that's me wanting to bend that set of rules. I have heard that player manufacturers are now distirbuting region-free players, rather than they're only beinga available as hacks.

When I see a product boast that "you can copy CSS copy protected DVDs", I don't really feel like supporting that. To each his/her own, but I've worked in content production and don't appreciate people stealing it.


By Cornelia on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 9:48 am:

I'm into protecting rights as well. But it's hard to fork out another $19.99 after darling daughter has decided to store a dvd in the pencil box and the bottom got scratched, or any of the hundred ways that I never personally could have thought of to even try to prevent a DVD from being damaged.

I'm even at the point where I am really happy that I have not put too much money into DVDs yet, and still have an extensive (and growing video collection -- the 2nd hand ones are getting cheaper!). They take more space, but oddly enough they are not as fragile!~

BECAUSE I can't play my DVDs from the USA on my DVD player because even though it is region free, I have it routed through the video player because there are not enough "audio in" and "video in" holes on my very ancient TV.

BECAUSE I can't make a back-up copy of my DVDs and have already managed (with the help of a young assistant) to render about 7 DVDs purchased in the USA only partially playable.

AND finally they are not that cheap.

The only market these guys are trying to protect realistically is a market represented in round numbers by less than a billion people. The rest of the world is still way too poor to even begin to aspire to the level of consumption we are dealing with here. Two and a half $20 DVDs represent the average monthly income of a Balinese, and that is the jewel in the crown of Indonesia.

OK, I'm mixing issues here, but I'm really grateful that someone came up with some alternative copyright ideas and I would really like to see more control back in the hands of the artists.

I think the "protections" are not really well conceived. In my experience, at least with software, that the more bootleg copies are out there, the better chance a software has for becoming the industry standard, because of the sheer number of people who are comfortable with it. Well, with DVDs, when the price comes down either at the store or through illegal copying, people who would not have bothered investing in DVDs suddenly go out an buy DVD players, and eventually "convert" and even end up buying some legal copies, etc. There probably is not any scientistically accurate way to come up with numbers on this.

But it seems like exporting the US culture is going to go a lot faster (if that's what they want... and it sure seems like it most of the time) if they either lower prices or in other ways loosen up on some of the greed.

By Pato on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 1:17 pm:

Has anyone seen this movie "Howl's Moving Castle"? Is it something my 9 year old would enjoy? (probably yes but asking for opinions anyway) And where might I purchase a copy of it?
Studio Ghibli gets technical award at Venice film festival
Monday, September 13, 2004
VENICE EStudio Ghibli, which made Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki's animated film "Hauru no Ugoku Shiro" (Howl's Moving Castle), received the Osella outstanding technical contribution award at the Venice film festival Saturday.

"Howl's Moving Castle," based on a children's book of the same name by British author Diana Wynne Jones, was in competition for the Golden Lion award, but the top prize went to "Vera Drake" directed by Briton Mike Leigh. (Kyodo News)

Also amusing tidbit about Sen to chihiro. Looks like Disney jazzed up the colors.
Lawsuit over DVD version of 'Spirited Away' settled
Sunday, September 12, 2004
KYOTO EA lawsuit fans of the award-winning animated film "Spirited Away" filed against the Japanese distributor of its DVD version has been settled at the Kyoto District Court, sources familiar with the case said Saturday.

The distributor, Walt Disney Co (Japan), has accepted the conditions that it express regret over the DVD colors causing "misunderstanding and confusion" to purchasers and, if it adjusts data on DVD versions of films it sells in the future, it will clearly state it made changes. (Kyodo News)

By Ryan Paul on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 10:15 pm:

Region Free Players seem to be quite cheap and easy to find.
For example:

By Gerald Vogt on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 11:10 pm:

The web site says: "We purchase standard dvd players from distributors and remove the region protection. This makes all of our players region free, but the same models on other sites are probably not regionfree unless they specifically say so."

That is interesting. I would say the last sentence is just marketing of that company. At several export stores in Akihabara they told me that it is not legal to sell DVD players labeled as region-free. Therefore, all players are labeled with some region code and do not say "region-free". But if you ask the sales persons they will tell you that it actually is region-free even though it does not say so. And at least the one I got there is region-free and plays JP region 2, EU region 2 and US region 1 DVDs without any problems. And you get players from the standard brands, costing a little more than the same region-2 players. I do not know any of the brands they offer on the website and whether they are good or not.

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