While Japan makes some rather unique cars, itasha aren’t the only custom cars in the country. From oni-kyan wheels for drifting to Chibatman, it sometimes seems like half of the vehicles in the country have been modified to extremes. But to get an idea of just how popular custom cars are in Japan, you’d need to head to Tokyo Auto Salon, which saw nearly 300,000 attendees last year!
This year, not wanting to miss out on all the fun, our brave Mr. Sato donned his most garish, chinpira outfit and headed down to look at some cars…and the women who get paid to stand next to them.
In many ways the car world and the video game world have a lot of overlap–both involve technology that’s constantly getting updated, many of the accessories are needlessly expensive, and their conventions draw thousands of visitors.
They both also tend to feature “companions,” as the models are known in Japan, to stand at their booths and make the products look good. If we’re being totally honest, it’s kind of creepy, but it’s also one of those things that’s become so embedded in the culture it’s also impossible to ignore.
▼Not that everyone wants to ignore it.
Decked out in the most outlandish, chinpira (small-time gangster) clothes he could find, our very own Mr. Sato headed down to TAS2015 to get some photos. Unfortunately, it looks like he had to go by himself–but as you can probably tell from the photos, the booth staff at the event were very accommodating.
▼”Lemme take a selfie…”
In case you’re not familiar with Tokyo Auto Salon, the event started in 1983 by the car magazine Option and was originally called the Tokyo Exciting Car Show. We’re not sure why they changed the name, because that sounds like the best car show we can imagine! The show started using the current name in 1987 and has been expanding to larger and larger venues ever since.
Though the show is focused on custom cars, parts, and dealers, its growth over the years means that attendees can now see demos, races, and a stage show organized by Avex. No longer just for hardcore gearheads, TAS is a great weekend for anyone who has even a mild interest in cars.
▼Or, we suppose, taking photos with models.
Tokyo Auto Salon 2015 is now finished, so you’ll have to wait until next year if you were hoping to check out all the…custom cars. If you don’t want to wait until 2016, though, you can still probably check out the best itasha (cars covered in anime/manga graphics) at the World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya. Last year, the summit featured a special area for the cars, so we’re betting you’ll be able to see them again this summer.
In the mean time, be sure to check out the rest of Mr. Sato’s photos from TAS below!
Reference: Tokyo Auto Salon
All photos © RocketNews24
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