After 10 years of service, Rakuten Global Market, the company’s cross-border marketplace service, has shut down as of June 1st, 2020, and the ability to browse the site has been stopped. This decision comes as the Japanese electric retailer and online retail company tries to focus their resources on strengthening their local offerings with their own platforms and flagship store partners in Taiwan, Mainland China, and other markets.
So what does this mean for raw denim heads and heritage fashion enthusiasts? Well, in the West, it has always been difficult to source some products from small and often obscure or niche Japanese brands. If they didn’t have their own website or didn’t offer international shipping, you basically had 3 options. Get someone in Japan to buy items for you, known as proxying, visit Japan yourself, or use Rakuten’s Global Market. We aren’t quite sure what the coming days, weeks, and months will bring for Rakuten, or whether an alternative platform is in the works.
What we do know is Rakuten Ichiba, one of the biggest shopping sites in Japan and the company’s first platform, and Rakuten Global Express, the companies international delivery service, in addition to multiple country-specific official marketplaces including the US and France, will remain active.