Importing from Europe


#1

Hello everyone,

I’d like to get started on playing the Shamisen by self-teaching. I already saw some of the recommended books pop up on this website which is also a plus.

Thing is, the book is easy to get in Europe, but an actual Shamisen is not. The starter set on this site looks very promising and I’d love to order, but I want to ask fellow Europeans if aside from the 70$ Shipping costs (which is absolutely fine) they also had to pay additional fees due to any import taxes from the EU.

The few times my family has decided to import something from any non-EU country we got hit hard with an additional import tax.

I just want to make sure there won’t be any nasty surprises if I do decide to order because it is so difficult to find a decent starter Shamisen, even second hand.

Kind Regards,

Menno


#2

where do you live? you are certainly going to pay taxes when importing a shamisen yes.


#3

where do you live? you are certainly going to pay taxes when importing a shamisen yes.

The Netherlands. Although I heard there’s a loophole involving having it sent as a gift, but definitely not getting any wiser trying to read the actual import tax pages from the EU or my own country.


#4

You don’t need a Sanshin by any means? I live in Finland and I am selling one :wink:

I imported a lot from Japan and those loopholes are very difficult. Especially if you buy from a shop or a company which produces their own products. If the address is from a retailer, a shop or something similar, there will be definitely taxes on it.

If you have a friend in Japan you could try that out, but that didn’t work for me either. I bought a guitar once and tried to send it through my friend as a gift, but the customs still taxed it.

It’s difficult, but works sometimes, if you can well conceal the fact, that you bought it :wink:


#5

Hey Menno,

I’m based in Japan, but I’m looking to part with an instrument or two that I no longer use.

If you’re interested in it, we could talk details.

Unfortunately, I’m not really sure about the extent of importation taxes going into the E.U. and how they might relate to this situation; but my suspicion is in line with Lucas - there’s not much you can do to avoid it.


#6

Hey there Menno,

regarding the import taxes in the Netherlands, you pay up to 23-30% of the original price of the instrument if you try to get it through customs regularly.

That is the 19% sales tax and an additional customs and import taxation of 5-10% depending on how they register the shamisen.
Since musical instruments don’t really have a real tax category on their own, customs either declare them furniture (which is the most expensive option, because of the wood and stuff, up to said 10%), toys (second expensive option 7%) or they open up a new category and register it as “undefined” which will be 4-5% because of the used material.

If you plan to import an instrument with animal skin or any other animal material, you need a document from the seller that states the source of said material, because you will be fined up to 7000 Euro if they can’t make out the source and WILL declare it as “poached goods” or mark the source as “endangered game”.
And you do not want that. I’ve been through that hassle with one of my regular vendors in India.

Either you could ask someone to buy you a shamisen in Japan, send it to you by postal service with a signed document by said person, which states that it is a late birthday gift or something and the person buying stuff for you should be ready to sign necessary documents or maybe answer a call by customs to vouch for you.


#7

Alright thanks for the replies everyone.

I planned a trip to Japan for next year and am going to pick one up there.

Seems I’ll just have to be patient.


#8

An alternative is to make your own if you want to start learning sooner rather than later. There isn’t much to a shamisen in the end and it is pretty easy to make a basic instrument.


#9

An alternative is to make your own if you want to start learning sooner rather than later. There isn’t much to a shamisen in the end and it is pretty easy to make a basic instrument.

Sounds like a fun project, and the materials should be easier to find than the whole thing. Got any recommended sources to get started or is it just a few Google searches?


#10

« Shamisen of Japan » ! Kyle´s book in the store menu ! All you need to know is there !


#11

You can go simpler, even:


#12

#13

There are many YouTube videos out there. You can make a basic instrument that you can start learning on for almost no money and with little time.


#14

Hi,

I just purchased my first shamisen, The Beginner’s Shamisen from Bachido just 2 months ago from Germany. And there was absolutely no problem!

I received the Shamisen in under a week (it was sent by EMS) and there was no problem with the customs either. I just had to go collect it from my local customs office who did inspect the peculiar looking instrument once but there were no additional questions.

I did have to pay an import tax. So for the beginners Shamisen, I paid round about 80 euros as additional taxes (the taxes are calculated on the price of the product + the shipping costs) which comes to about 20% of the price you pay (you have to show your paypal receipt as proof).

Getting the strings and accessories was a little tougher. Since those weren’t sent by EMS, it was lost somewhere in the customs. Took me more than 2 weeks to get it (atleast I got it!).