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DVD & Video

DVDs are set to Region 2, encoded using the NTSC system. Region 2 DVDs from Europe (encoded using PAL) will not work on regular systems.

Region-free DVD players are rarely advertised, but are sometimes sold at Costco, regular electronics stores or video/DVD rental shops. The LG DVP-EX30 can be bought online for ¥11,993.

Videos use the NTSC system, same as videos from North America, which can therefore be played on Japanese VCRs.

Rental stores typically stock new releases on DVD only, but most shops also have a wealth of older titles available.

Rental stores include:

  •  Tsutaya
  •  Geo (pronounced “gei-o”)
  • America
  • Manga Souko

DVD rental clubs similar to Netflix also do business in Japan. Browse their list of titles, choose what you’d like to watch and they will be sent to your home pending availability.
Tsutaya Discas allows you to see up to ten DVDs per month for ¥1800. No sign-up fee, good selection and a one-month free trial. Renting more than ten discs a month incurs extra charges.

Livedoor Posren costs ¥2000/mo. for unlimited rentals. ¥1000 sign-up fee, 27 000 titles but fewer copies so popular titles are frequently out.

Movies are often shown with Japanese dubbing, so it pays to take note of the following characters when choosing a DVD or going to the movies:

字幕 (jimaku) : Subtitled
吹替 (fukikae) : Dubbed
英語 (eigo) : English

Note that not all Japanese DVDs and non-English foreign films have the option of English subtitles.