Inside Japan’s Car Culture: 5 Facts You Should Know About Mitsuoka

When we think of Japanese car culture, we have images of crazy colours, flashy LED lights, and heavily customised performance cars. This was something that has been established over decades by Japan’s otaku culture, and has been thoroughly demonstrated in Mitsuoka Motor’s unique style of neo-classic cars –  so much so that many consider the company an essential part of Japanese car culture on its own!

Today, we explore some facts about Mitsuoka Motors that display the uniqueness of Japanese car culture that we have come to love and appreciate.


Kyusha, which means “old car”, is one of the largest obsessions that Japanese auto enthusiasts have. Founder of Mitsuoka Motor, Susumu Mitsuoka, is no exception. Susumu Mitsuoka’s fondness for classic cars inspired him to bring neoclassical models into his company to share with other classic car lovers in Japan. This obsession for kyusha is a result of the Japanese towards nostalgia. By combining this nostalgia with Susumu Mitsuoka’s love for Western cars, the creation of Mitsuoka models such as the Himiko and the Le-Seyde.

Kei Cars

Did you know that Mitsuoka only produced its first non-Kei car in 2004? Kei cars were first introduced post-World War II for Japanese consumers who cannot afford full-sized cars. Recognisable by their yellow car plates, they are known for their small engines (of less than 660cc) and are extremely handy for fitting into tight spaces. It was only until the introduction of the Nouera in 2004 that Mitsuoka created a full-sized car.

(Related Story: Mitsuoka: Models Through The Years (1990 – 1998))

Exotic Supercars

The Japanese car culture also includes many superfans of supercars. Mitsuoka brings this concept to life with the Orochi and Rock Star. The Orochi is a concept car that is unconventional in design, yet boasts a 3.3L engine and a sporty-looking body kit. Additionally, the newest Rock Star is modelled after the 1969 Corvette Stingray, an iconic Chevrolet supercar that has a 5.0L engine.

Modifying JDMs

While modifying Japanese Domestic Cars (JDMs) is a huge part of Japanese car culture, Mitsuoka takes modifying JDMs to a whole new level. All but one of the models (the Orochi) is made from a Japanese car. Whether it is a Toyota, a Mazda or a Nissan, Mitsuoka makes use of these conventional Japanese cars to produce its vintage-looking models – and with the quality craftsmanship of their engineers in their  Toyama factory, you could have never expected that the Mitsuoka cars started off as a regular JDM.


There is no bringing up of Japanese car culture without mentioning itasha. An itasha is a car heavily decorated with images of anime, manga, or video game characters. While Mitsuoka does not take this to the extreme (as some car owners do), it still infuses a unique take on itasha with the limited edition Devilman Orochi and 7-Eleven Evangelion Orochi. These models were a tribute to the anime Devilman Crybaby and Neon Genesis Evangelion respectively!. They are made to be subtle and stylish, and are definitely a Mitsuoka fan favourite, suitable for both itasha and Mitsuoka lovers.

Want to get your hands on your very own Mitsuoka in Singapore? Visit Mitsuoka Singapore via their website (coming soon!), or join the conversation on their Facebook page!

All images courtesy of Mitsuoka Motor.

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