I would like to get you a little overview of the most common car related Japanese words and their meanings.
From Motorcycle gangs up to the different tire wheel fitments, if you don’t know how to call it in Japanese, you should find it here.


Zokusha – 族車
  • basically the street racer scene of Japan
  • groups started appearing among Japanese youth after WWII in the 1950’s and 60’s
  • nowadays usually japanese cars from the 70’s to 90’s
  • extremely creative exhaust works (sticking several feet from the car or even in curious shapes like stars or hearts)
  • large body panels (hoods, spoilers and front lips)
  • paintwork is mostly two tone, combined with pinstriping and racing numbers (casually in the style of old racing cars)
  • rims are usually classic 3 piece rims with polished rim beads/ lips
  • mostly widebody kits or even wide stretched fenders
  • externally mounted oil cooler
  • Covered or modified headlights (star or heart formed headlights)
  • Zokusha is often confused with Bosozoku which is the style of a japanese motorcycle scene
  • Tsurikawa rings at the back of the car, to let everybody know that the car is low enough
  • mostly used cars: Nissan Skyline or Laurel, the Toyota Mark-II or Chaser, etc. VIP (Bippu) members often used Toyota Aristo, Soarer, Crown, or Celsior, and Nissan Cedric, etc.


Bosozoku – 暴走族
  • a japanese movement first appeared in the late 50’s and grown in the 70’s
  • the motorcycle club of the bosozokus is the most known in the country, they also have some members which are into cars
  • translated it would mean “violent driving group”
  • basically the same style of zokusha cars transferred to the bosozoku motorcycles
  • extremely loud exhaust
  • really high and sometimes fleecy seats
  • the bosozoku outfit (called Tokko-fuku) includes a long coat with all kind of prints (club name, militaristic slogans, Japanese Imperial flag, etc.)
  • the bosozokus nowadays are usually nice folks and mean you no harm
  • mostly used motorcycles: 1970s model -Honda CB750, Kawasaki 750, 750SS MACH, Suzuki GT750, Yamaha TX750. After a change in the regulations of large motorcycle licence: Honda CB400, Hawk, Suzuki GS400, Impulse, Yamaha XJ400E, RD400, RZ250. Nowadays, also medium sized and large scooters are very popular


Shakotan – シャコタン
  • easy one, this is a term to describe a lowered car
  • generally the Shakotan called cars are extremely lowered streetcars with wide low-offset wheels and stretched tires


Kyusha – 納屋車
  • classic japanese car scene
  • directly translated to like “old car”
  • If you are into old japanese cars, check out the “G works Magazine”

Amesha – アメ車
  • translated it would mean american car
  • usually built in the Lowrider or hot rodding style
  • japanese cars also get modified in the “US style”
  • became pretty common in Japan after the US company “Mooneyes”, which was known for hot rod parts, was bought and expanded by a japanese distributor. The company now holds some US car related events in Japan (eg. “Mooneyes Street Car Nationals”)

Itasha – イタ車 /
  • usually it would translate to italian car, but due to the community it gets used for the wrapped cars which are popular in Japan
  • due to the character “” which translate to “painful”, Itasha is also said to these “painful looking” cars
  • commonly seen are wraps which shows high school girls taken out of video games, idol groups or TV shows (animes)
  • used for stock cars, trucks, motorcycles and even competition drift cars from Formula D (some Formula D teams are even sponsored by the games or TV series founders)

Dorisha – ドリシャ
  • dorisha or dorifuto means drift car
  • high tuned cars especially built and modified to drift
  • from S-chassis (currently the most common japanese cars in the drift scene) up to Vans, sedans or wagons, the Japanese try to build any kind of car to get it to a solid drift
  • the Japanese usually try to modify the original engines, but for the higher class of drift cars it is not unusual to swap bigger engines in light and handy chassis (for example a Toyota 1JZ or 2JZ or even a Nissan RB20,25 or 26 in any S-chassis)

Dekotora – デコトーラ
  • big trucks modified through many LED lights and crazy paint jobs
  • an extraordinary scene that can only be found like this in Japan


Bippu – ビップ
  • internationally known as is VIP cars
  • high class sedans, sometimes wagons as well
  • usually modified and lowered with bolt on parts

Tsurikawa – 吊革
  • a strap with a PVC ring, originally a handle from the japanese subways
  • literally means “hang” (tsuri吊) and “leather” (kawa革)
  • the Japaneses (Bosozokus) used to steal them and mount them in or on their cars to show rebellion and disrespect to authority
  • if the ring is touching the ground your car is officially low enough
  • due to the good spot in the subway the Tsurikawas was used for many advertisements and was shaped in different forms (rings, hearts, stars, triangles or even mickey mouses etc.)
  • it became an international trend and nowadays there are many copies of the Tsurikawa rings, so that you can buy them legally and don’t need to steal them
  • commonly used in the Bosozoku and drift community and for Zokusha and Shakotan cars


Hippari – ヒッパリ
  • term for a stretched tire


Hamitai – ハミタイ
  • when the wheel and tire sticks out of the fender
  • one of the car modifications you can get busted for in Japan


Tsuraichi – ツライチ
  • most known as “Hellaflush”, so when the wheel or tire is flush with the fender
  • meaning comes from the words “tsura (surface)” “Ichi (one)” – become one


Turauchi -トゥラウチ
  • term for when the wheel is tucked inside the fender
  • very close fitment

Oni-kyan – オニキャン
  • term for extreme camber
  • also known as “demon camber”