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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Onikyan: Friendishly Cambered Car Wheels

Onikyan: Friendishly Cambered Car Wheels by timtak
Onikyan: Friendishly Cambered Car Wheels, a photo by timtak on Flickr.
The angle of the wheels on this Honda Life (light car) is called "Onikyan" which is short for Oni Kyanba- or wheels at a fiendishly inclined camber. Wheels positioned in this way result in degraded performance and very uneven tyre wear so their only merit is their ("rather bad") appearance.

The creator of this masterpiece said that he wanted to demonstrate his prowess at customisation (he is particularly good with this area of the car). While the car is currently not road legal he believes that it could be driven to local cities such as Hiroshiima and Fukuoka to take part in "dress up" (Customisation) car shows. Approximately half of the revenue of this garage is for "regular work" and half for show-ization (sho-ka) to make cars ready for "dress up" car-customization shows.

The size of the automotive aftermarket parts market is about the same per capita (about 580 dollars in Japan, 2007 figures, to about 600 dollars per capita in the US) but Japanese cars do fewer miles and are on the road for less time and are of a higher reliability, so presumably a far greater proportion of that market is spent on non-essential, customization of the car.

As another indication of the extent to which Japanese people like to pimp their ride, all of the companies (Mode Parfum (Blow Design), Aimgain, Wald, Junction Produce, Anceltion (RIP)) recommended as offering "Vip Styling kits" in this English language article on how to make your car look like a VIP's (pimp's?) car are Japanese companies.

Additional evidence that the Japanese are the kings car customization includes the fact that Japanese jargon refering to styles of car-customization, such as "hippari" to refer to stretching tyres onto outsized rims for a super low profile tyre/wheel.

It is my contention that people express their individualism not to others, or even specific internalised others, but to their "generalised other" (Mead) their Super-addressee (Bakhtin), the Other (Lacan), or Super-Ego (Freud) of their psyche, "Thou" (Buber/Nishida) or their gods, which in Japan do not listen but look. The Japanese desire to individuate and enhance themselves in the eye of their Other, since it is from this position that they see themselves objectively as lovable, individual human beings.

The Japanese are no so keen, on the other hand, on tuning up their cars so that they go at a fastest speed from point A to point B. Speeds are purely linguistic achievements. Making it look like their cars are going at the fastest speed (e.g. by "drifting") on the other hand, is highly descirble as do cars that simply look individual like the example above.

Videos of "Demon Camber" cars (with swearing)

Video of this particular car at a show in Hiroshima

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.