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Modified Style In Japanese Car Culture

Talking about car modification, often we will also talk about modification style or modification flow. There are various styles of modification and can even be a combination of several modification styles. Although lately the trend is more towards proper modifications which are defined as ‘correct’ or ‘appropriate’ modifications.

Proper modification pays attention to the balance between form and function. So the aesthetic, comfort, safety and function of the car are really considered. How can a car look cool, improve performance, but still maintain the function/feasibility of the car.

This style of modification is indeed appropriate, comfortable, cool to see. That’s why, this style has recently become a kind of general ‘standard’ for car modification. Slightly off track alias not proper, would be called a ricer !

Well, if it’s like this, it can be messy too.

Modifications can become limited, monotonous, and even dead. The existence of such patents as ‘required’ in modifications certainly makes modifications not free. It was wrong, yes, it was called a ricer, tacky, or something.

Personally, I sometimes get bored when I see this ‘proper’ form. If you think about it, the name of the modification should be based on freedom in mind .

Why am I discussing this? Because in this review we will review the modification style in Japanese car culture in which not a few people will see it as a ricer modification.

Let’s just start. Prepare the coffee.

Japanese Car Culture Modification Style

Japan is a country with the most diversity of car culture in the world. The creativity and uniqueness of this nation spreads in various aspects including car modification. Modification there is no principle of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Everything is based on the taste, taste, desire of the owner. And indeed back to the nature of the Japanese people who really respect individual rights and do not like to interfere in people’s affairs, there is no such thing as judging ricers, tacky and the like.

So, it’s been creative plus freedom and the club also judges all kinds of things.

This is why modification is so developed in Japan. Just imagine for example when Wataru Kato cut the fender of a Lambo car or Akira Nakai cut the fender of a classic Porsche. Premium supercars and classic Porsches are simply cut for mods! Maybe, if it had started here before, it would have been blasphemed.

Here cars that are modified into lambo-lamboan or fake supercars are often the subject of ridicule and ridicule. But let’s think again, not necessarily we can make it. It takes engineering and mechanical skills that are not small to make it. Who knows if given a positive response maybe these lambos can continue to develop into something big!

Well, in Japan it’s not like that. There are no ‘mandatory’ patents or proper rules. Root modification of their car culture based on freedom of expression and creativity. Look at the touch of their classic style modification which is reckless until now continues to grow together with modern elements for example on Rocket Bunny , Liberty Walk , RWB or Morohoshi Style .

Freedom in the absence of judges, rules, references in modifications also keeps the diversity of modifications in Japan maintained. People don’t change the modif theme just because the ‘standard’ has now changed. Not because it’s out of season. Or because they are afraid of being ridiculed because their modif style is called ‘nag’ or ‘ricer’. But it is based on what you want, what you like. Proper car? there is. A Need for Speed ​​Underground style car with decals and neon? Still available. Itasha’s car with anime stickers? Still available. Bosozoku style car with ‘super ricer’ bodykit? Still available. Super flat static camber car? still there too.

This diversity of types and styles of modifications has made Japan known as a paradise for enthusiasts. Japanese car culture reviews seem to never run out. Daikoku PA is a clear proof of this. This legendary parking lot has long been known as the ‘temple’ of petrolheads in Japan. We can find various types of cars and various types of modification styles gathered at the Daikoku meet. Proper, stance, hellaflush, VIP, itasha, lowrider, muscle, dekotora, kaido racer, shakotan, Lambo Morohoshi Family, supercar, Onikyan/ camber demon, Kei-car, and more.

Japanese Classic Modification

Classical Japanese modification is undeniably an important factor in Japanese car culture. Not only from the modification style that continues to grow, but the spirit of the classical era modification also provides a strong foundation for the modification mindset in Japan. This classic modification became the beginning of the spirit of ‘ JDM’ which then made the JDM culture widespread.

As mentioned earlier, the root of Japanese car culture modification is based on freedom of expression and creativity. The classic Japanese modification style is synonymous with a touch of freedom and reckless creativity, aka often push the limit to achieve the desired character.

Super flat cars, extreme camber, stretched tires, gundam-style bodykits, long exhausts shaped like lightning, wings as big as gambreng and others.

The word ‘classic’ is actually not quite right also used for these various styles of modification. Why? because even today this style of modification still exists. It doesn’t change because it’s different times, different trends, different ‘standard’ modifications.

In fact, this style is not only maintained but also continues to grow. We can see a touch of the ‘classic’ Japanese modification style combined with modern elements. Wide tires, super flat, fenders, big wings, reckless body kit. Just look at Rocket Bunny, Liberty Walk, RWB or Morohoshi Style.

Terms, Styles and Modifications in Japanese Car Culture

In Japanese modification we will come across several terms. This term can be in the form of a modification stream, the name of the type of modification or the name of the group/gang that uses certain modifications. Below we will try to present some of them.


Not infrequently interpreted as a classic style or classic style. Kyusha actually means old car or classic car. The club or fan group is called Kyushakai. From the meaning, actually all Japanese classic/vintage cars can be called kyusha. But there are also other meanings such as classic cars that are maintained/restored in stock or original condition. Or modifications but usually only mild without much affecting the original appearance of the classic car.


Zoku means tribe, gang or group. Sha means vehicle (car). So, zokusha means a car gang or it can also be called a car club. The term ‘zoku’ appeared in the post-World War II sub-culture or in the 1950s. At that time, the post-war social changes of Japanese youth and several foreign films/novels inspired reckless freedom for young Japanese. Plus the booming car culture, gangs or ‘zoku’ appear everywhere. There are highway racing gangs (Roulette-zoku or Circuit-zoku), drag racers (Zeroyon-zoku), drifters (Dorifto-zoku), Vanners (Vanning-zoku), Touge battlers (Rolling-zoku), and the most famous , Bakusozoku (Bosozoku) – The Boso Gang


Often mistakenly grouped with Bosozoku or garuchan. In fact, shakotan actually means a flat car or ‘short ground clearance cars’. Another term today is ‘Slammed’. Cars with minimalist modifications, as long as they are flat or slammed can be categorized as Shakotan. Of course the car must be a classic Japanese car, yes.

Garuchan/ Grachan

Garuchan or Grachan comes from the word Grand Championship. The style of this modification is inspired by the Grand Championship car championship at Fuji Speedway in the 70-80s. Especially especially in Group 5 cars. The main character is an aggressive boxy bodykit in the style of a circuit race car with large wings. This inspiration is also used by Bosozoku, only they remodel and develop it to be even more extreme.


The free translation is ‘Violent Speed ​​Gang’. As the name implies, they are a delinquent gang that has long been known in Japan with rebellious, reckless and violent characters. At first they were a motorcycle gang, but later there were cars in it. The modification style is inspired by Group 5 cars (same as Garuchan) only that they are more quirky and quirky. 

Kaido Racers

A vintage JDM car club that modifies its cars in a Bosozoku-like style. It’s just that most of the cars aren’t as aggressive or whimsical as the Bosozoku. Yes, you could say Kaido Races is a tame version of Bosozoku. Most of the members of Kaido Racer are not related to the Bosozoku either. They are only inspired by the style of the car modification. So even in attitude, they are normal people aka not delinquents.


Kanjozoku is a Honda street racer car club  that became a legend in Osaka. They use a toll road area called the Kanjo Loop Line which is 21 km long. This path is connected (loop) so that it becomes an oval track. This is where the Kanjozoku dart around Kanjo every night. The main requirement, of course, is a Honda car. The cars used are Civic hatchbacks such as the EF9, EG6, and EK4 Civic SiR. There are also those who use the EK9 Type R. This car has the characteristics of a livery or sticker in the style of a circuit racing car. Not only from the outside, these Honda cars are indeed functionally modified for racing cars.

Morohoshi Style

Modified style from Shinichi Morohoshi for Lamborghini cars. The point is ‘bling bling’ aka sparkly. Strobe that adorns the car, bright neon colors under, in the interior and in the car. The free and whimsical spirit of classic car gangs like the Bosozoku blossomed into Lamborghini. The result is Lamborhini Yakuza Style! For people outside Japan, this modification certainly invites various criticisms and blasphemy. But in Japan, the members of the Morohoshi Family keep growing!


The members of the Bosozoku not a few later who became members of the Yakuza. Well, under this Bosozoku there is such a thing as Yanki. They are teenagers (age below Bosozoku) who are inspired by the Bosozoku culture. Yes, high school or early college age. Not only from the character traits or appearance style, for modifications to the motorbike and car they also refer to the Bosozoku style. When they graduate from school, or drop out, many of them later join to become Bosozoku.


Hashiriya means street racer or street racer. Those who like speeding or illegal racing on public roads. Hashiriya is synonymous with high-way racing as in the legendary car gang Midnight Club . However, the word hashiriya can also be used for other street racing themes such as street drift racers.


Called by the name ‘Bippu’ is a modified style of luxury sedan that is often associated with the Japanese mafia, the Yakuza. Luxury sedans are large and expensive modified flat with large shiny wheels, flush or cambered, glossy body paint and black window film, the darker the better. Some of the cars used include Nissan President, Nissan Cima, Nissan Cedric, Nissan Gloria, Nissan Fuga, Toyota Celsior, Toyota Century, Toyota Crown, Toyota Aristo.


In the 90s, anime fans in Japan started decorating their vehicles with anime stickers and knick-knacks. They were influenced by the modified Bosozoku and Dekotora (decorated trucks). They named decorating the vehicle with this anime theme with the term itasha. So it’s a kind of tribute or offering to your favorite anime character. 


Onikyan or demon camber (devil camber) is a modified style of extreme negative camber. Forget about function, this style of modification is for visual purposes only. But remember, of course, the camber tilt doesn’t make the car look like a UFO. Onikyan is generally performed on Kei-cars or on VIP cars.


Modifications in the form of a thin gap, or even no gap between the tire and the fender. The American term, Hellaflush .


This means stretched tires or tires that are stretched wider. So the tires are inserted into wheels whose size is wider than the width of the tires. Usually 1-3 inches. This style emerged originally from the Japanese street drifting scene.


Have you ever seen a classic Japanese car with a long exhaust pipe soaring into the sky? This exhaust system or style of exhaust is called Takeyari. If translated it means bamboo spear or bamboo spear. Maybe we can use the name bamboo sharp this time, hehe. The long pipe is indeed like bamboo, and it is not uncommon for the ends to be sharpened so that they are like pointed bamboo. Takeyari can be shaped in various ways, some are in the form of lightning, the shape of a chimney, a trellis shape, a shape like a tv antenna, a star shape, and some are even in the shape of ‘so-and-so’.


Have you ever seen a truck decorated with witty paintings or writings? Now in Japan, as well as Japan, the modification is more extreme. Truck drivers modify the terms Dekotora or decorated trucks. This trend started with the movie “Torakku Yaro” (Truck Guys) in 1975. This film tells the story of a truck driver who modifies his truck and drives it around Japan. In the early 90s, Dekotora was growing with robot inspiration from the Gundam Series. The result is now Dekotora has become a combination of carnival trucks and transformers-style robots.

(Bonus) Dekochari

Don’t have a car or truck? Only have a bike? Don’t worry, it’s called Dekochari (decoration bike). This modified style was inspired by Bosozoku and Dekotora but applied to bicycles. The result is a flashy boxy bodykit bike with all sorts of embellishments and accessories like lights or even music speakers!

That’s the review this time.

Freedom, creativity, off track, and of course no one likes to blaspheme here and there. The spirit of modification in Japan is what makes Japan the country with the most diverse car culture in the world. This is why the coverage of the car scene and modifications in Japan seems endless. There is no boredom either because the variety of modification styles and uniqueness has always been a charm that is not found in the car scene in other countries.

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