Otaku USA Magazine
Itasha Cars Are Becoming More Mainstream in Japan

Itasha cars are a section of fandom where people deck out their cars after their favorite anime, manga or video game franchise or character. It’s been growing in popularity in Japan since it began about two decades ago, and The Japan Times covered the topic, including interviewing people involved.

Itasha is an interesting name, as The Japan Times points out: it can be translated as “cringeworthy car.” Many people may have viewed them as eyesores to begin with, but now yearly events like Itasha Tengoku might bring in a thousand itasha cars. In other words, it’s going more into the mainstream.

Kenichi Kawahara, the event organizer for Itasha Tengoku, said the vast majority of itasha car owners are men. “More than 99%” in fact. He also pointed out the artistic creativity that goes into designing these individual cars: “There are 1,000 itasha here today, and no two are the same.”

Kawahara is behind a magazine dedicated to itasha as well.

Yosuke Takahata has an itasha car with Daiwa Scarlet of Uma Musume Pretty Derby emblazoned on it. “It’s the character that I like, and that’s all that matters,” he remarked. This way he can “always be with the character.”

A full car wrap might cost someone as much as $7,500. Naoya Imai’s whole job is doing car wraps and itasha owners keep him busy. “In the past, itasha owners put stickers on their cars just because they liked it,” he commented. “Now they want strangers to think their cars look cool.”

Ryosuke Nakano had his car designed like Lycoris Recoil (see above). “When I had window stickers, it would only be the people behind me who could see it, so I’m a bit scared of how people will react when they see this from the front,” he stated. “But I don’t care. This is what I like.”

Source: The Japan Times


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.