Records Break as Foreigners Spend More in Japan – Bakugai?


Bakugai, Again?


There’s a good chance you’ve heard of the relatively new Japanese word known as ‘bakugai’ (爆買い).

Bakugai, translated literally means ‘explosive buying’ and refers to (in particular, Chinese foreigners) who buy huge amounts of Japanese products to take back to their country.

This phenomenon became so popular that in 2015, this newly coined word won the “word of the year” award – an annual contest that looks back on words that have been trending.


bakugai, 爆買い



Breaking Sales Records


Since 2015, I’d heard about a decrease in ‘bakugai’ – but the latest sales figures show that’s not the case at all.

According to the Japan Department Store Association, the amount of money foreigners spent in April of this year at department outlets was a whopping 1,600,000,000 yen (around 14.6 million USD) – a 42% increase of April last year.

The number of foreign shoppers in Japan broke records in March, and then again in April.

Make-up products and stylish handbags are some of the top selling items tourists are buying up. If you live in Japan, you’ve probably seen Chinese people buying baskets full of items in drug stores – that’s a perfect example of ‘bakugai’.


bakugai, 爆買い



Japan’s Economy Still Looks Gloomy?


Not all is good news though. The number of sales for permanent residents in Japan decreased 1.5%, which is a blow for an already stagnant economy. It’s no secret that Japanese people are holding on tight to their cash, causing the retail industry to suffer.

As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approach, foreign sales are expected to keep on increasing. Could the Olympics be the kick-start Japan’s economy needs?


bakugai, 爆買い, japan shopping