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Electronics from USA/Canada

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Electronics from USA/Canada
By Tlytle on Wednesday, June 30, 1999 - 4:49 am:

Can my American small appliances (microwave, etc.) w/ 220volts be used in Japan? DO you need a transformer or just something to convert the plug? Is it better to just buy Japanese items than to try to use ones from the States. We're in the last week before the movers come and I'm still sorting items. Thanks for your help.T.Lytle

By Cornelia on Friday, July 9, 1999 - 10:53 am:

Ok. No one else has volunteered to answer this so here goes.

USA domestic voltage=110v
Japan domestic voltage=100-105v
Europe in general=220v
USA commercial voltage=220v

I have transferred an American toaster oven to Japan and it works fine (for 6 years now). I have transferred two Japanese rice cookers and two juicing machines to the USA and they work fine in the USA.

I have also brought 4 telephones from the USA and have been using them without power problems in Japan. They tend to break down for other reasons, such as being abused by a young child or simply being cheaply made.

I have heard that items which require very precise timing such as tape players & radio/alarm clocks will run, but that the speeds will not be right on the money.

I have no idea what the case with larger appliances such as refridgerators or washer/dryers would be. I do know that my US toaster oven + my Japanese microwave running simultaneously will trip the breaker switch in my apartment.

Hope this helps.

By nancy wechsler on Friday, February 25, 2000 - 1:08 pm:

Can someone clarify for me whether American televisions will work in Tokyo. We have heard conflicting reports that they will work totally or that they work but will not receive Japanese channels. Is this true. Are there other US applicances that will not work?

By Emi on Monday, April 10, 2000 - 3:06 pm:

From the soc.culture.japan (usenet) FAQ. You can get this here:

Subject: (6.4) Taking electronics to Japan
Last update: <11/95

The Japanese TV standard is NTSC, the same as used in the North America and a few other places, so videotapes and laserdiscs from Japan are compatible with North American equipment. Channel assignments are somewhat different, so a North American TV set won't necessarily work if you take it to Japan. SECAM or PAL equipment won't be much use in Japan, but reportedly can be purchased in Japan if you want to take something home.

Because of the channel assignment differences, a TV set and a VCR or laserdisc player need to be connected by the RCA type video cables (or S-video), not the coaxial "signal modulated onto channel 3 or 4" cables. There are probably exceptions to this statement, but in general, this is so.

Electricity is 100 volts 50hz in Eastern Japan, 60hz in western Japan. The dividing line is the Oi river in Shizuoka prefecture about half way between Tokyo and Nagoya. Apparently, Tokyo and Osaka, being the first cities in Japan to electrify, ordered their equipment from different European (or US?) sources, thus the frequency difference.

The outlets fit US standard two prong plugs with two parallel flat blades. There are many houses that don't have the third wire ground hole in their outlets, so she three prong grounded plugs common on PCs in the US may have a problem with the ground pin. Power supplies on many computers can handle a wide range of voltages. The MAC IIvx nearby says 100-240V, 50-60 Hz. So with the correct line cord, it will be happy in Japan, but I don't know that to do if there's no ground connection. Some devices with motors depend on the line frequency for their speed and will run slow in eastern Japan. With the lower voltage, devices with heating elements will run cooler.

By Paula on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 10:57 am:

Gameboy - does anyone know if games from the US will work with a Japanese Gameboy or vice versa, my son wants to play both japanese and english games. We haven't bought a console yet, still deciding. What do you think?

By Jonathan Higgins on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 2:34 pm:

Yes - American games do work with a Japanese Gameboy Advance. There have never been any region locks for handheld games - too many opportunities to sell game cartridges at the airports. Old Japanese Nintendo 64 games quite happily played on USA Nintendo 64 consoles - the only problem was that they physically wouldn't fit. This could be overcome through either buying a $10 adaptor or purchasing a suitable 'star' key tool, dismantling the console and literally snapping off the offending plastic sleeve that preventing the cartridges from being inserted.

As far the latest Nintendo - Gamecube - console is concerned a little less brute force and a lot more money is involved. It's perhaps best to purchase the console in North America. There are many more English game titles available for the Gamecube. In fact the selection of Japanese Gamecube titles is pathetic. Its biggest sellers are Smash Brothers and Mario Party - entertaining enough for children, but not if dad wants to play too. Sites such as have great recommendations for games - our house has never been disappointed by any of the 'Editor's choice' titles.

If you want to play Japanese (and European games - but you'll need a special television for those) then you can buy a device called 'Action Replay' available at Amazon but not for export. I bought mine from the excellent LikSang in Hong Kong The device allows you to play any Gamecube game on a region-specific Gamecube. It also lets you 'hack' dozens of games - extra lives, bonuses etc.

Getting American games in Japan is not difficult - though some publishers refuse to allow retailers to export certain titles - the upcoming Mario Golf Gamecube being one. The LikSang site is one resource, another is but they won't export everything. When this happens is the often the best bet.

By Tidus866 on Saturday, June 4, 2005 - 1:46 pm:

Hi, I like RPG games and mostly the good rpg games are out ONLY for Japan, Im gonna buy Playstation 2( Japanese version, NTSC J). And i live in USA. now, im kinda worried if my PS2(japanese version) will work in the US.. the japanese PS2 is 110v, and my PS2(USA version) is is work ok here? or not?

By Scott Hancock on Saturday, June 4, 2005 - 7:01 pm:

The minor difference in electric supply should not matter. But, the games are for one market or the other. It seems you are buying the games from Japan, too so you should be OK.

By Thanprabha on Sunday, September 30, 2007 - 2:00 pm:

i am moving to USA (minnesota), and i am planning to take my japan rice cooker (100 V, 50-60 Hz, 640W) with me. can it will work in USA. Because, the power supply in USA is 110 V. please anyone can answer my question. thankyou

By Hokuto on Sunday, September 30, 2007 - 2:54 pm:

It may work, but unless its power rating is for universal (100-240), it will probably overheat, and possibly cause a fire hazard. I burned out a hair dryer in the same way. I would not use it except on a 110->100 step-down transformer. You can buy them at camera/electronics stores throughout Tokyo.

By Kurz on Sunday, September 30, 2007 - 3:17 pm:

I have taken two rice cookers to the USA. They did not cause fires. However, the first seemed to stop working sooner than it's normal lifespan. Also I had painstakingly copied down the buttons and gotten someone to translate them for me before taking it to USA. Then about a year later, my father discarded the paper. (He gets into moods where he throws out piles of stuff without asking anyone if it's needed.) That made it harder to use, so make sure you keep your instructions in a very safe place (like maybe scanned and on your computer).

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