Adults Banned From Buying Pokémon Cards In Japan As Expansion Shortage Intensifies

Anyone visiting Akihabara post-pandemic would be shocked at the trading card game boom with many small stores popping up to buy and sell cards at every neighborhood corner. Leading the pack is the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), a haven for speculators who have been buying cards by the caseload.

Many veteran TCG players know the lifeblood of the community is having a steady stream of new players constantly entering the hobby. Pokémon is not immune to this. But most adults buy up new sets with the sole intention of profit thus hurting the game in the long run as the game evolves into a pure speculator’s market.


The new Clay Burst and Snow Hazard expansion contains Special Illustration Rare cards of Scarlet and Violet gym leaders Grusha and Iono, the quest to obtain Pokémon cards has become even more fervent and is fueling the speculation.

This insanity has led one of the leading trading card game stores in Akihabara to take rather drastic measures – banning adults from buying loose booster packs and only allowing kids up to the age of 15 to buy these packs.

For anyone who has played Magic: The Gathering, Hareruya is quite the institution and is rationing this hotly contested expansion. While they could have flipped the existing booster boxes for a profit, the trading card culture in Japan is rather unique with many players vowing loyalty to their stores by trading exclusively with the business. If played out well, this initiative by Hareruya could lead to positive goodwill and make card starved Pokémon TCG players out there love them even more.

At this point, it’s also easy to point out that adults could simply pay junior high schoolers to buy cards on their behalf. But at least there’s this window for the upcoming generation of TCG players to get hold of the cards they want. Yet, this is not a long-term solution as Pokémon TCG cards as a whole are currently all sold out.

This might be a sign of things to come as the next upcoming set, Pokémon 151, whose release on 16 June 2023 in Japan, will callback to the original 151 Pokémon leading to another nostalgia bomb.