How to Use a Japanese PSN Account on PS Vita Without Losing Your Data
Despite dwindling support from Sony in the west, the PS Vita is a great little portable console, and its Japanese library is full of games that might be worth trying, including quite a few free demos that often don’t get a western release. Since a few good ones have been released recently, it’s time to let you know how you can take advantage of them.
The problem is that, unlike what was done with PS3 and PS4, Sony did not implement an easy way to swap PSN accounts on the fly on the Vita. Basically, you can’t use a Japanese PSN account and your usual local account at the same time on the same machine, making the change from one to the other rather laborious.
Yet, if you think that the Japanese PlayStation Store is a treasure chest worth exploring, there are ways for you to change account fairly quickly without losing the data of your usual local account. It certainly takes more time than the quick process on PS4, but it’s doable, and below we’ll explain how it’s done.
Of course, you need a Japanese PSN account. We won’t explain the full process here, but you can find our handy and super-detailed guide on how to create and maintain one here.
Before you move on, remember that DualShockers does not take any responsibility for any damage you deal to your PS Vita, PC, or patience during this process.
If you have two memory cards, and you’re willing to use one for your original account and one for your Japanese account, the process is quite a bit quicker, as you don’t need to back up your system and format your memory card every time. In this case, read the dedicated notes at the end of the article before beginning the process.
Assuming that you have only one memory card and your Japanese account is ready, you’ll need a PC, on which you’ll download and install the PS Vita Content Manager Assistant program. You can find it here. Installing and configuring it is easy, and you can simply leave all the options on their default settings.
Once your PC is ready, it’s time to prep your PS Vita to backup your current data on your PC. Connect the console to your PC via USB (it’s possible to do it via wi-fi router, but it’s less stable, so it’s definitely better to use the USB cable) Select the Content Manager app that will come pre-installed with the Vita by default.
Select the “Copy Content” option.
Your PC should be listed in the “Connected Device” area. If it isn’t, select “Change,” then “PC” and “USB Cable.” The PC should be recognized and connected.
Once your PC is connected, scroll down to the Backup Utility and select Back Up. Confirm when it prompts you to close all applications in use.
The next screen will tell you the size of your backup file, the free space on your PC and the name of the backup file that will be created. Select Back Up. You will be prompted with a progress bar. Do not power off either the PS Vita or the PC during the process, and wait for it to be completed. It can take several minutes depending on how big your memory card is and on how full it is.
Once the process is completed, select “OK” and close your Content Manager app. If you want to make sure that your backup file is safely stored on your PC, go in the folder listed in the Content Manager Assistant (you’ll find the icon in the tray), and you’ll find a folder with the name that was listed on the Back Up screen in the System folder and within a second folder with a random name.
Select the Format app.
Select the “Restore this System” option.
Confirm. I know. It hurts.
If it asks you to log into your PSN account to deactivate the system. Do so. Then click on “Restore” again, click on “yes” when it asks if you also want to format the memory card (only if you have only one memory card. Otherwise read the notes at the bottom of the post), and then click on “Format,” and confirm with “Yes.” Your system will be wiped clean.
Once the system is wiped, select your language (English or your native language is perfectly fine, regardless of the fact that you’re going to use the console with a Japanese account). Select your time zone, confirm date and time. Answer “Yes, I do” when you’re asked if you have a Sony Entertainment Network account, and select “Use.”
You will need to set up your Wi-Fi connection as usual, and to log in with your PSN account. Make sure you don’t get distracted and use your original account, or you’ll have to repeat the process from the beginning. Insert username and password for your Japanese PSN account, and sit through the little introduction video. Your PS Vita is now ready to be used with your Japanese account.
Let’s assume you want to download the recently released PS Vita demo of Valkyria Revolution. Of course the same process will apply to any kind of content. Go to the PS Store app and log in if asked.
Select “PS Vita Content.” If instead you want to download one of the many cute Japanese PS Vita themes, you can select the dedicated option just below.
Select “Demos.” There are also sections for Games/Additional content (in Japanese alphabetical order), free to play games, and game rated CERO 18.
Find Valkyria Revolution. Check that the price indication is “無料,” which means “Free.”
Select “Download.” If you haven’t added the demo to your account via web store, it’ll ask you a question with いいえ (no) and はい (yes) as options, select はい (yes). Don’t click the button on the next grey screen while it’s loading, as it would cancel the download. You’ll see the icon of the demo move up to your download area.
You’re done here, so close the PS Store app and wait for the download to be completed. As soon as it’s installed, you can play the demo like any other PS Vita content.
When you’re done playing with your Japanese PS Vita games and demos, and want to go back to your original local PSN account, it’s time to restore your backup.
First of all, you need to go back to factory settings again, so repeat the instructions above from the “Now it’s time to wipe your console” part. Of course, when prompted to insert your PSN account after wiping, you’ll need to type in the credentials for your original PSN account, and not the Japanese one.
Once you’re done, and you have watched the introduction video again, go to your Content Manager app.
Select Copy Content.
Select your backup file and then select Next.
Select Restore. Again, it will take a few minutes to copy the files over, depending on how big your memory card is, and how much data it contains. After the process is completed, you can either opt to keep your backup file or to delete it. It’s normally a good idea to keep them stored on your PC; but it depends on you.
Your PS Vita will restart, and you will be ready to play with all your original data intact.
If you have two PS Vita memory cards, and you’re willing to use one for your original account and one for your Japanese account, the process is faster, but changes in a few steps. First of all, you can completely skip the backup steps (even if it’s good practice to do it once in a while). When you’re wiping your console and it asks you whether you want to format the memory card as well, select “no.”
After the system restarts, you’ll be told that you can’t use your current memory card with the account you selected, because it’s linked to your other account.
If this is the first time you use the memory card that will be dedicated to your Japanese PSN account, select “cancel” and then turn off the system completely. Swap out your original memory card, putting in the one that will be dedicated to the Japanese account. Turn the PS Vita back on, and you’ll be told once more that the memory card needs to be formatted. At this point, since you have the right memory card in, you can select “format” to complete the process.
Now that you have both your memory cards set up for the two different accounts, changing between them is relatively simple. After you wiped your system memory to factory conditions (again, answering “no” when asked if you want to format your memory card), do the PSN account setup process, and when you’re told that the memory card can’t be used with your current account, simply select “cancel,” turn off the system, change the memory card for the one linked to the account you’re using, turn the system back on, and you’re good to go.