How the Bokksu x Japan Crate acquisition impacts the customer

How the Bokksu x Japan Crate acquisition impacts the customer

Sep 15, 2023 Tags 

This article was updated on 10.6.2023

The cat’s out of the Box.

Bokksu has officially acquired competitor Japan Crate, and is promising a bright future for subscribers to both brands. The reality is we have yet to see if the grass really is greener on the other side of this deal. 
While CEO of Bokksu Danny Taing likely will see “green”, what does this mean for the customers? 
Let’s take a close look at the facts and make some predictions on what’s inside this Pandora’s bokksu.


The first question we have to ask



Why did Bokksu decide to purchase Japan Crate? As many subscribers to Japan Crate will tell you, there’s been a lot of shipping and service issues for the company over several years now. Mr. Taing states in an Instagram reel that Bokksu’s delivery infrastructure will help this along. But no company purchases another to fix their problems, there must be something in it for them.



If we follow the money, we see that Bokksu was funded through venture capital, and has had 3 investment rounds since its inception, with the latest being a Series A in 2022. Mr. Taing implies this as an explanation for how they could stay afloat during an economic crisis, while Japan Crate sought a buyer. 
An important touchpoint here, is that because Bokksu is a firm built on venture capital, they have investors with high expectations and high stakes, explaining why Mr. Taing himself is often on camera in their socials, he has a lot to lose, while Japan Crate cashed out.


Likely the purchase was intended to narrow down competition in an increasingly specialized market. This makes Bokksu look good to investors not just because they’re bigger, but because while Japan Crate struggled in its core deliveries, they did have strong retail connections with stores like Hot Topic, World Market & FYE. 

“The core gain for Bokksu was reaching more customers, not improving the current product for existing customers.”



The reality is, the terms of the deal have not been disclosed to the public, and likely with good reason. Bokksu is looking to seek a series B funding round next year, meaning they need more money to achieve their goal. The question remains what this goal is. Improve the service, please shareholders or cash out on top of a pile of crates.




While promising better delivery and variety, Bokksu have already stated they intend to keep the brands separate. 
This, on top of Bokksu already being known for experiencing delivery issues, we can’t help but be concerned that while they duplicate their strengths, they also duplicate their problems.

The ones who will likely be most affected are subscribers to Umai Crate and Inku Crate, providing products Bokksu have very little experience with and have not mentioned once in talks about the acquisition.
If you’re affected by the acquisition and need a new alternative, ZenPop has 7 years of experience with our Snack, Stationery and Ramen boxes.  


Updated information from 10,06.2023 follows


The end of Japan Crate’s boxes


Screenshot from the official Bokksu website. Taken 10.05.2023


Inku Crate, Dokidoki Crate, Umai Crate and Gatcha Gatcha Crate have all been discontinued following the Bokksu acquisition last month. This was revealed in a series of sub pages on their website accessible by googling the respective brands. No official statement has yet been given, but it’s clear from outcry on social media that it has been months since the customers last heard anything from the company. The unfortunate answer to any one asking "where is Inku Crate" is that it's gone and not coming back.


Four months of no answers


Response from customer who didn't receive their products after a long reply from the company.

“It’s only going to get better from here” is what Danny Taing said when he revealed that Bokksu is acquiring Japan Crate. It makes us wonder if this statement is directed to customers or shareholders as we now know that subscribers to all but one of Japan Crates boxes will have to look for a new service to migrate to.

Subscribers patiently awaiting their answers from Japan Crate, can look forward to October 15th as the placeholder text on their website states this as the day they’ll send an email detailing the changes to customers' subscriptions.
It remains to be seen whether this is actionable or placeholder text provided by AI services like Chat GPT, but we can make some educated guesses based on this information.


What will happen to my monthly Japan Crate Subscription?


FAQ from the Bokksu owned website

According to the FAQ answers provided, “all monthly subscriptions will be automatically deactivated and no further action needs to be taken”. If this comes to pass, customers will simply no longer receive their orders. There were no details given on what happens to customer details and payment information. 


What will happen to my prepaid Japan Crate subscription?


FAQ from the Bokksu owned website (2)

The information provided at the time of writing is that they will offer two separate solutions.

One option customers of these boxes will be faced with, is activated by not contacting Japan Crate. 
If you do not contact them, they will send you all your remaining boxes in the span of one month. Whether these boxes will contain different items or will all be the same, was not disclosed.

The second option is activated by reaching out to their support channel.
This will get the customer a coupon for the remaining cost of their subscription that can exclusively be used in Bokksu’s stores, meaning they will take full payment despite not delivering the product the customers ordered. 


One Box to rule them all


On the left: The Umai Crate web page after June 4th 2023. On the right: The Umai Crate web page before June 4th 2023


Japan Crate and by extension Bokksu promises to give answers in an email sent out October 15th 2023 to subscribers of Doki Doki, Inku, Umai and Gacha Gacha Crate. 

There’s no secret that subscribers to all of Japan Crate’s boxes have experienced significant delays, replacements and alternate solutions, which ended with a long silence starting from June 4th 2023 when these products lost their promotional images on the Japan Crate website. This can be re-experienced by using the snapshots of the Japan Crate site courtesy of the internet wayback machine.


Review from the website "". Interestingly, the review was made after a year of delays, and one day after the product was unavaliable to the public.


Hopefully Bokksu can deliver on their promises to subscribers of Japan Crate, however subscribers to any other Crate are unfortunately not considered in this merger as we predicted when this article was originally posted last month. 

If you previously or currently are a subscriber to either Umai Crate or Inku Crate, ZenPop has respectively a Ramen Subscription and a Stationery Subscription, shipping exclusively Japanese products from Osaka to the world. 


It hit's a bit different now.