Fact of the week
Credits to Research Team: Muhd Haziq
In the heart of Japan, Tokyo city home to nearly 9 million people and one of the most visited city with roughly 2 million more people from tourist visiting Tokyo. With famous sites like Akihabara being the number one place to go within the anime otaku community. All, many would overlook another similar trend that people might not know about this other anime otaku subculture just within Akihabara itself.
Itasha (痛車) which literally translates to “painful car” was originally a term referring to Italian import cars back in the 1980s. However, because people on the internet are making fun of it by playing around with the kanji itasha, Italian cars (イタリア車) became itasha meaning painful car 痛車. As 痛い meaning itai for painful and 車 sha, for vehicle. But today it refers to the hybrid car show of anime and car enthusiast showing off their modified rides and over the top stickers or paint schemes of their favourite anime, manga or video game waifu plastered all over the car. The types of cars that can be seen from the car show range from minivans all the way to luxurious sports cars. You can either find this event to be really cool just out right creepy, depending how to look at it. So long as the décor is done just right it doesn’t actually look half bad as it’s not too over the top. However, that was just my personal opinion and I’ll let you be the judge of that.
As you can see the cars don’t look half bad, but there are some which incorporate actual sculptures into the hood of the car which may be a bit over the top, and there are others with life size figurines and body pillows incorporated into their showcase. Some of the most common anime girls that you can see there would be those from the Love Live, Hatsune Miku, Girls Un Panzer. There are others but these three are the most common ones that can be seen through the event.
To give a brief history. Itasha started in the 1980s when people started putting character plushies and stickers onto their cars. Although back then the stickers were modest and there weren’t a lot of people joining. However, itasha only started gaining traction in the 21th century through the internet it slowly gained awareness and more people started joining in this niche subculture. Today itasha can be found throughout the world at the various anime conventions and other minor events and even motorcycles are not spared from the itasha craze.
So on your next trip to Japan and if you happen to be around Akihabara be sure to look out for these types of cars and motorcycles that can most commonly seen there. Be sure to take a picture of it and remember that you found out about this fact after reading this week’s FTW.