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Are Pokémon Cards Made In China?

Are Pokemon Cards Made In China?
Dustin Otterspoor

Sr. Writer & Editor


When dealing with Pokémon, you either know every aspect of it and know about the anime, movies, trading cards, games and everything else, or completely unaware of the phenomenon sweeping the internet. Pokémon cards are the number one selling part of the brand, and many people don’t know the importance of buying from licensed distributors. Regardless of which category you are in, we are going to be exploring the true origin of Pokémon as well as some things to look out for to avoid being scammed.

Where Are Pokémon Cards Made?

There are currently many places Pokémon cards are made in the USA, as well as Brazil, Japan, and in select European locations. The majority of Pokémon cards are made in the USA.

From 1996 – 2013, the TCG was published by Media Factory in Japan. Since then, the Pokémon Company has published them in Japan. In the USA, the TCG was published by Wizards of the Coast from 1998 – 2003. Since 2003, the Pokémon International Company has published the TCG in the USA.


Pokémon cards have never been made in China. China uses imported Japanese/ English language cards., with Japanese being the most commonly used. In fact, China is the biggest source of fake Pokémon cards in the world. The most recent case is from November 2021, where eight tons of counterfeit Pokémon cards heading to Europe were intercepted.

Fake Chinese Pokémon cards are most commonly found in stores that do not have an official contract with the Pokémon Trading Card Game distributors. Also, you can regularly find fake Chinese cards being listed on sites like Amazon, eBay, or Alibaba.

How to spot a fake Chinese card

Scammers typically take advantage of younger Pokémon fans, or those new to the trading card game. Because their intended audience generally doesn’t know much about the cards, the counterfeiters cut corners.

Sometimes you may come across a card that just feels “off”. Trust that feeling. The more time you spend looking at cards and dealing with cards, the more sensitive your intuition will become. When you suspect a card may be fake there are some tests you can do.

Read the card. Read all of the text on the card, checking for spelling and grammar errors. Common red flags are:

  • spelling errors
  • grammatical errors
  • Pokémon without an accent over the e
  • “Pocket Monster” being used instead of “Pokémon”
  • HP or Attack values of 1000 or more. No Pokémon HP is higher than 340.

You can also compare the card back. Some red flags are:

  • bleeding between the blue border and the rest of the card
  • washed out colors
  • off- centered text and borders are also a tell tale sign
  • Fake cards will be thinner than the real cards

Comparing the card to an online scan can also help you determine if the card is a fake. Make sure to compare your card to an online copy for: HP value, font or font size, wrong energy symbols or size, foiling when the card shouldn’t be, wrong weakness or resistance.

How to avoid buying fake Chinese Pokémon cards

First, Use caution and buy smart. If a deal looks too good to be true, it most likely is. Don’t buy boxes or packs from unknown sources. TCGplayer is one of the safest way to get authentic cards for a good price. If you use an online platform such as Amazon, Facebook, eBay, make sure they have policies that would protect you from potential fraud.

Make sure you read before you buy! Even if you are buying a sealed product make sure you read the text on the package and check the image and logos. Lookout for spelling and grammar mistakes, any images from the Pokémon anime (cards always use original art), any images from Pokémon Go (these will not be used).

Real booster boxes are wrapped in soft cellophane with a Poké Ball logo. If the cellophane is hard or doesn’t have the Poké Ball logo, that is not a good sign and most likely a counterfit.

Are Japanese cards worth more?

Funny enough, Japanese Pokémon cards can be worth significantly more than English cards. A few reasons for this are:

  • Japanese cards are made better, and are made with better quality materials.
  • Cards are often released in Japan first, then the rest of the world.
  • Some designs get altered for the international market.
  • Many Japanese cards still have first edition markings, making them more rare.

This doesn’t always make Japanese cards worth more though. It is difficult to know where the cards are printed. All the information we get is the cards are made by The Pokémon Company. The cost of the price for the cards are often set by the manufacturer.

While the rest of the world collects cards to complete a set, Japanese more often collect them to compete and play with. Which generally makes the value of the cards different in Japan vs. the rest of the world. Japan, often has special releases, making these cards more rare to the rest of the world.


Real Pokemon cards are not made in China but instead are continued to be made in the USA. That being said, there are cards printed in different languages, and cards made in Japan that are still authentic, so don’t let all non-english cards scare you away.

Happy hunting!

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