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Japanese Car Culture

Page history last edited by JD Jorgensen 10 years, 2 months ago

Japan has a serious car culture that extends well past it borders into the rest of the world including the United States. In fact Japan is second in motor vehicle production worldwide, trailing only to China. The


The JAMA - Japan Automobile Manufacturers, Inc. is an organization that was founded in 1967 and is comprised of the top fourteen manufacturers of passenger cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles in Japan.


These manufacturers include:


Fuji Heavy Industries

Honda Motor Co.

Isuzu Motors Limited

Mazda Motors Corporation

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Nissan Motor Co.

Suzuki Motors Coporation

Toyota Motor Corporation


History of The Automobile in Japan


Japan has its car origins in bicycles, the first automobiles were actually manufactured in shops like the one that Soichiro Honda had. Honda was a manufacturer of motorized bicycles and eventually motorcycles and branched into cars as they became more prominent in Japan. These bicycle shops eventually upgraded to producing small passenger vehicles. Firms like Isuzu and Mitsubishi produced their first car in the nineteen-teens while other prominent manufacturers began to emerge through the 60's. In order to compete with American automakers Japan enacted a series of trade laws designed to promote the success of Japanese car firms.


1966 Corolla, the first year of the best selling car of all time


65 Honda S600



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Cars modified to be extremely flashy with large exhaust and aerodynamics kits as well as bright paint. This automotive design style relates to the Bosozoku motorcycle gngs that modify their bikes to be extremely flashy. This subculture can further be explored here.



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Auto Racing in Japan


The only type of racing that the Japanese have not broken into thus far is American stock car racing. They have their hand in all other racing but the most most known about type of racing in Japan and by far the most popular worldwide is drift racing. Drift is a combination of talent and skill where the driver slides the car around curves in the track or road. This style of racing has spawned countless imitations of drift cars worldwide as well as feature films such as Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.


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Japanese Drift racers


Subaru is a Japanese car company that fully embraces auto sports and produces purpose built vehicles for rally racing modifying down from that level. Worldwide, Rally is one of the biggest racing events around, cars are made by many manufacturers and drivers compete on an international level. More information can be found here.



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Technology and Automobiles


Japan is also leading the way in hybrid vehicle and electric vehicle technologies. Cars like the Toyota Prius have set the standard worldwide since their beginnings in the mid nineties.


The Prius itself was released in 1997 and quickly became a leader in sales as a hybrid vehicle. Honda also made hybrid vehicles that were larger sellers in Japan than anywhere else in the world.


The Nissan Leaf is due to be released in Japan in December 2010 and will be the first fully electric vehicle to be mass produced ever.



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