QotW: What’s the best car commercial from Japan?

Now that the star of one of the most famous Japanese car commercials has been rediscovered, it’s time we asked:

What’s the best car commercial from Japan?

The 1972 Nissan Skyline hit the market just as Japanese citizens getting hooked on the idea of road trips, vacations, and cars larger than a Subaru 360. A web of expressways had sprung up across the country and the open road beckoned. The C110 Skyline’s sun-drenched visions of Ken and Mary enjoying the freedom of grand touring took the nation by storm, and spawned the nickname, kenmeri, that has stayed with the car for 40 years.

What say you, dear reader? NOTE: This is for JDM ads only. There will be a separate QotW about the best comercial from America. As always, the most entertaining, well-written, or inspiring comment by next Monday will receive a random JDM toy. Click through to see the winner from last week’s question, “What’s the best model name?” 

You guys offered a smorgasbord of truly great comments this week, from the ridiculous (Suzuki Might Boy, Daihatsu Terios Kid AERO DOWN CUSTOM X) to the sublime (Honda Dream, Nissan Skyline) but the winner this week is Lucien, with:

Mazda Eunos Cosmo. It’s so impossibly, preposterously exotic sounding. It sounds more appropriate for the name of an exploration vehicle sent to Prometheus to collect specimens of black goo. It’s not all false advertising though, the Cosmo had some truly awesome retro-futurist stuff packed into it’s otherwordly cabin. A touch-screen color CRT display?! That’s just early 1990s Miami-drug-dealer porn right there.

Omedetou, sir! Your prize from the JNC gashapon is a Furata AE86!


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30 Responses to QotW: What’s the best car commercial from Japan?

  1. xs10shl says:

    Honda City, featuring Madness. Could not have been more cheaply made, with an almost total lack of production value. Yet oh-so-addictive to watch.

  2. Kev says:

    I like this ad: http://youtu.be/Pq9WzDG_1z0

    (I have a hunch that the vehicle in question is called…the INX)

  3. Tyler says:

    The 4G Eclipse drum commercials lol

    • Ben says:

      This QotW is for commercials from Japan. We’ll have a separate QotW about American ads. Sorry, not trying to single you out, but wanted to get this comment in near the top of the chain.

  4. chin says:

    For me the best comercials are the Michael J fox 2nd gen integra comercials from the late 80’s and the 1996 3rd gen integra comercial with Brad Pitt that made no sense.
    Hond road the Back to the futre wave and went as far as to use the theme music. Toyota should have done it to sell the awesome 1985 4×4 truck Marty was sporting at the end of the movie, oh well.

    89. Integra comercial

    Integra notegra comercial

  5. j_c says:

    Paul Newman Skyline commercials. They’re terrific!


    At Daytona in a silhouette racer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKK-l8zFeMY

  6. ManiacZX says:

    There are so many Z commercials near to my heart but I’d have to pick this one for its limited exposure (aired once at the super bowl then got pulled for fear that it promoted street racing apparently)


    How can you beat the line “twin turbos kick in”?

    It is also funny that the marketing geniuses behind the commercial are actually making the car look pretty bad in that it takes nearly a minute for the turbos to kick in? Man that is some horrible turbo lag 😀

    Also, probably one of the most memorable Z commercials of all time, the GI Joe and Barbie leaving Ken in the dust http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI2L82eUoJU

    Have to include one last one to represent my 84 300ZX and the awesomeness of 80s television, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZh42W93h1Y

  7. bert says:

    The Isuzu Gemini commercials of the late 80’s. In an era when econoboxes were all about mpg, sensibility, and good ol boring A-B transportation, Isuzu made the mundane fun. Peddle your crap by chucking it around different cities with all four wheels in the air! Win.

  8. bert says:

    Ken and Mary were nice, but they never did this as a couple.

    • Tj says:

      The best comment on that video has to be;

      “rhetorical question but since you asked the answer is yes of course. every time i get out of my MKIII I jump in the air and some japenese lady says “TOYOTA!””

  9. Lucien says:

    Alright, so it’s not for one particular car, but the Honda Impossible dream ad is one of the more compelling ads I’ve ever seen period, automotive or otherwise. Plus it has a host of awesome Honda machines!

  10. Koich says:

    I think the correct word is “Gachapon” or “Gachagacha”. It’s a hybrid word of “Gacha” which is the sound when you turn the lever, and “pon” the sound of something popping out.

  11. The Tank says:

    Joe Isuzu. The man, the legend. With such an amazing sales representative it’s easy to see how Isuzu was so successful, not to mention the beautiful styling by Giugiaro done on the Impulse. This commercial is so 80’s that it has a laugh track, for in this era people did not know when to things were funny, and the laugh track easily differentiates from statements and jokes. Joe Isuzu is so cheesy and over the top that is just works.

  12. Brownie says:

    the hypnotically futuristic Soarer ad : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sA_Q8tjJGo

  13. alvin says:

    Forget ken and mary. You need sharks, secret agents, bad guys in nets, and some random chick in gold.

    The nissan sunny.

  14. Max says:

    Not a Japanese ad, but a true tribute to stuffing a rotary into anything and making everyone like it!
    Piston engine goes BOING BOING BOING but the Mazda goes Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm 🙂

  15. Benjamin says:

    Mel Gibson, my reason – LEGACY.

    Why is this the best Japanese car commercial? A sober Mel Gibson drives through a farmer’s market in a Legacy wagon, and doesn’t run over a single Jew.

  16. Victor says:

    Sorry but the 1970’s Commercials from Mazda for their Rotaries are the best! Every single one of their rotary cars recieved its own theme song, from the catchy Savanna love song to the exciting Familia Rotary song, which is the one I would pick. Just watching it puts a smile on your face. I just imagine the singer that got the lyrics before recording, confused about what he was about to sing.

  17. chin says:

    Those Gemini comercials are epic, too bad it didn’t have the original music. Still awesome though.

    • bert says:

      I had a hard time finding one video with all of the commercials, so I settled for this one. The music works pretty good tho…

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