Photo/IllutrationThe Transportation Bureau City of Sendai’s special one-day subway ticket set includes three postcards bearing images of Yuzuru Hanyu. (Eiji Shimura)

  • Photo/Illustraion

SENDAI, Miyagi Prefecture—He may be smiling on postcards that come with special subway passes issued here, but figure-skating sensation Hanyu Yuzuru is not a happy camper.

One-day ticket sets commemorating the skater's Olympic gold medals have been appearing on Internet auctions at inflated prices.

Six-thousand of the one-day passes issued by the Transportation Bureau City of Sendai went on sale April 20 at Sendai Station and other sites for 1,500 yen ($13.41). The sets include three postcards featuring photos of a smiling Hanyu, 24, in “haori and hakama” traditional Japanese attire and other situations.

However, several days before going on sale, many of the sets appeared on Web auctions at much higher prices, with comments such as "The set will be mailed to you after they go on sale," according to the bureau and other sources.

Hanyu visited Sendai the day sales started to attend a ceremony to unveil a design for a city monument to celebrate his Olympic victories.

Sendai Mayor Kazuko Kori revealed during a news conference on April 23 that Hanyu apologized for the ticket-scalping fiasco when she met him in the waiting area before the ceremony.

"He was dismayed over the ticket scalping," said Kori, who strongly urged the resellers to stop.

About 40 of the items in question were found on Yahuoku!, Yahoo Japan Corp.'s online auction site, as of April 23, with at least one of them priced at more than 5,000 yen.

Yahoo Japan said it would remove items from the site if they violate its guidelines, which prohibit users from reselling event tickets and similar items.

The bureau prepared a total of 50,000 sets of the special subway tickets.

Besides the sets sold over the counter on April 20, others will be available only via mail order with a price tag of 2,500 yen, including the shipping fee.

Thirty thousand of the sets will be available for purchase by application during the second sales phase, starting April 27.

The bureau is calling on those seeking to get their hands on the sets to purchase them through official channels, as “sufficient sets are stocked to prevent possible ticket scalping.”