QotW: What’s your favorite Japanese car culture?

KL1131_ToyotaMarkIIX70-bosozoku

Tomorrow is Culture Day, a national holiday in Japan in which the nation’s ancient traditions are celebrated. Everyone gets the day off of work, presumably to tend to their minka or to practice their kabuki. Of course, Japan is a rich source of car culture, from vanning to VIP, drifting to Wangan hashiriya.

What’s your favorite Japanese car culture?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What car would you import from Japan?” 

Mitsubishi Canter Dekotora

We received a mountain of great answers this week, ranging from the expected to the completely wacky. Rafael Rakyan despertely wanted to bring an AE86 to Indonesia, where it was never sold, even though it would cost $30,000. Banpei had virtually no limits in the Netherland, and opted for an AE86 Black Limited. Less expected were answers from MGamez, who wanted an ’86 Mazda Cosmo Turbo Coupe, and Yuri, who for some reason wanted a Toyota Cavalier. However, the most surprising (and entertaining) came from those like angelo, who wanted to relive a slice of Japanese life with cars like a Cedric taxi. In that same vein, the winner was Tj, who’d import a dekotora:

I live in Australia so I’m reasonably fortunate enough to have had many great JNCs sold new out here (doesn’t mean you can find any of them though, I’m looking at you C110 skylines)

So if I were to import anything from Japan I’d have to make it worthwhile, right? If someone were handing me a theoretical free-pass to have anything I wish delivered to my door like some kind of fairytale ebay it’d have to be something that no one else had imported before or something that I couldn’t just call any of the numerous import companies and pick out of a catalogue.

I’d have to think big. Hakosukas? There’s a bunch here already. Kenmeris? Sold here. Toyota 2000GTs too (seriously, all bar one have returned to the motherland though)
No, I’d have to think literally big.

A Dekotora truck.

No, really. Think about it. No where else but Japan do these seizures-on-wheels exist. None of these cashed up investors who are driving up the prices of JNCs would know about them so you can have it all to your self.
You could even put it to work carting freight and make it pay itself off! How many of us can say we did that with our cars?

Plus you could totally hide a Honda City Turbo II with matching Motocompo in the back before it leaves Japan. I’m sure no one would notice.
Hell, stick it to the roof and say it’s part of the decorations.

 

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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11 Responses to QotW: What’s your favorite Japanese car culture?

  1. Dankan said:

    My favourite is an anti-culture. I don’t care about any of the “scenes”. The coolest is the guy with a job, a life and all the stresses of modern life, who’s managed in spite of all that to keep something they love tucked up in a tiny garage, and which they take out and drive when they get that brief moment to put their life on hold and just have fun. Be that every weekend or once a year.

    That’s my favourite. The everyday gearhead.

  2. Bart said:

    You know, as cool as Japanese car culture is, I am going go Japanese custom motorcycle culture. From little 125cc scooters to big, old school Harleys, the Japanese know how to take custom bikes to a whole new level. I was never even really a fan of motorcycles until I took my first trip to Japan, and since then, I am just as much a bike fan as I am a car fan.

  3. rods@maltanet.net said:

    Im Roderick from MALTA I ALWAYS LIKED JAPANESE CARS TILL I WAS A LITTLE KID AND MY NICK NAME IN MALTA IS, MAZDA MAN OR MADE IN JAPAN .ONE CAR I WOULD CERTIANLY IMPORT IS THE 1982 MAZDA HB LUCE COSMO 12A TURBO POWERD ROTARY .THIS CAR WAS NEVER SOLD IN OUR MARKET IM VEARY LUCK I OWN A 1981 929 COUPE IM HAPPY TO SHARE SOME PICS WITH YOU OF MY CARS ,HOW I NEED TO POST PICS ON THIS SITE PLEASE IM SURE U WILL LOVE EM . AND I WILL SEND SOME PICS OF MY 1979 626 CB2MS THAT I CONVERTED TO ROTARY WITHOUT ANY DRILLING OR CUTING IN THE ORIGINAL BODY WOORK. THANKS KEEP ON LOVE JAPS GREAT UNDESTRUCTABILE CARS.

  4. This is like asking which kid is your favorite, not fair Ben! I guess Dekotora but I am going through a Isuzu NPR kick right now so it could go right back to hokkaido shakotan style.

  5. ahja said:

    The stereotypical showa car paired with a mountain pass thing does it for me. The kinds of cars that emerge at gatherings called stuff like New Years Meet, 8-6 Day, Hachimaru Meeting, etc. The cars are street cars, not showcars, they aren’t exotics, and they are at least a couple decades old. I imagine that the people attending the gatherings spend a lot of time doing things with their cars, whether it be daytripping, restoring, modifying, or just keeping immaculate. Or driving the mountain passes like romantic ghosts.

    But the main thing I think links people like this is that they do it for themselves, not to impress the internet hype culture or even their real life peers. So I suppose I’m in agreement with Dankan. This is the culture I identify with, and although its largely populated by geezers, I see no shame in that. I’ll be one someday too.

  6. Brian said:

    I used to have a great time hanging out with the touge drivers. I would cruise up with my room mate on the weekend as we lived near Hakone and meet all kinds of weekend drivers many who came to race or drift depending on the hill and the weather. The local guys would turn out after work at the tire shop/dealerships and go tandem drift up the hill behind our town before cruising home.

    These guys were always pretty welcoming of the awkward foreigner.

  7. Nigel said:

    Touge daily driver with a bit of Shakotan mixed in.

  8. Ant said:

    I’ve two favourites: Those who drive and modify kei cars and kei trucks, which by its nature could only be a Japanese car culture. It’s working with what you have and within the limitations of cars widely available in the country – little different than the people who modified Austin and Morris Minis in the UK back in the 1960s, or America’s hot-rodders.

    The second are the touge drivers. Once again, there’s a spirit of working with what you have – whether it’s a Civic or a piece of Euro-exotica – to make it great to drive on your local roads. I suppose again that’s influenced by its similarity to making a car work on B-roads in the UK. The conditions are different, but the nature of ducking out early on a weekend morning to go for a blast is easy to appreciate wherever you are in the world.

  9. Schumann said:

    This is going to get some serious hate, but I’m going to say, the one part of Japanese car culture that always held the most interest, due to the severe bizarreness of it all, has to be…
    Itasha.
    On minivans.
    There’s something humorous about it all, it sounds like it shouldn’t work at all, but there’s something so right about Kei vans awash in a kaleidoscope of neon’s, weighed down with sub-woofer systems that cost more than the purchase of the vans themselves, shaking down the Wangan, hilariously small wheels mimicking the design of drift favorites, and as if that wasn’t offensive enough, putting huge geeky murals of their favorite cutesy Anime characters on the sides.
    Nowhere else in the world could this happen, even admitting having an interest in it is criminal alone, so Ive always had a massive respect for the men and women (lets face it, its mostly men) within the Itasha scene owning these loud, bright murals on wheels at the expense of being social outcasts, being hated more than the camber gang for being nothing more than passionate, but still doing as they please.

  10. Censport said:

    Dekotora.

    Hey, it worked last week… 😉

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