RIP Aritsune Tokudaiji, 1939-2014

Tokudaiji Aritsune
Noted Japanese automotive journalist Aritsune Tokudaiji has passed away a week shy of his 75th birthday.

In the early days of Japanese motorsports, the Tokyo native drove for the Toyota factory team. Upon retiring in 1969, he went on to co-found the racing accessories company Racing Mate with fellow driver Soukichi Shikiba.

After the company folded, he became an automotive journalist but found that his harsh reviews offended advertisers. So in 1977 he published his own series of books called『間違いだらけのクルマ選び』roughly translated as  Choosing a Mistake-Ridden Car. The books became best-sellers for their critiques of the auto industry, in which Tokudaiji bemoaned the constant addition of features at the cost of performance. 

Toyota Crown S40 Aritsune Tokudaiji

As a child, Tokudaiji’s first encounters with cars were imports, as Japan’s auto industry was still in its nascent stages. He got his driver’s license in 1955, the same year the Toyopet Crown debuted. He admired the car for its entirely domestic origin, and eventually landed a seat in an S40 Crown for the official Toyota works team.

Despite Tokudaiji’s criticalness of the industry, his did have a few notable favorites, including the 510 Nissan Bluebird, Subaru 1000, Isuzu Bellett, and Prince Skyline. He also called 1989 the peak year for Japanese cars, as it saw the debut of the Eunos Roadster, R32 Skyline GT-R and Toyota Celsior. And when Toyota became the world’s largest automaker in 2008, Tokudaiji could hardly believe how far the company that made the Toyopet he grew up admiring had come.

Interestingly, Aritsune Tokudaiji is not even his real name. It was a pseudonym chosen so he could speak his mind. He is survived by his wife and children.

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5 Responses to RIP Aritsune Tokudaiji, 1939-2014

  1. Iwakuni91 said:

    This is what I love about JNC; short on words, but long on content. Thank you for being so informative. I have a lot to google!

  2. MikeRL411 said:

    In regards the Alpha Romeo reference! The old joke was “A 4 leaf clover! Good luck, you’re going to need it!” I worked with a guy who had just bought an Alpha Romeo. It was constantly [as every other week] back in the shop for one problem or another. Finally after about 6 months of Alpha Romero ownership he remarked that it had been a month since he had to get a tow to the dealer. His response “Time to get rid of this while it still runs as good as it looks!”

  3. Nigel said:

    RIP, Sir .

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