What is “ITASHA”?


Written by KAZ

Itasha is a popular trend amongst young Japanese (late teens to 30s) who especially love their cars and anime / games. They devote considerable time to searching for their favorite anime characters (e.g. a pretty girl). Once they have found their favorite character, described as “yome”, which means “my honey”, they make stickers to paste on their cars, their possessions and also to decorate their bedrooms with. Such people may seem strange, at firsthand, yet their daily lives arevery normal. They never make trouble with others, tend to behard-workers and pay particular attention to road traffic regulations. They do not want to seem to be the strange person. These “itasha” are also often referred to as “otaku”, which means more of a maniacal or unique individual. Most Japanese people tend to ignore “otaku” in their everyday lives. But I think this is a very big mistake. In every era, those people who are involved in extraordinary trends aretreated negatively, and criticized for being lunatics or crazy. The early stages of the history of Punk Rock and Heavy Metal Rock are good examples of this. This pressure and negative treatment from the rest of society can often push such trends on to the next stage, and soon “the minority” can become “the majority”, and the trend receives widespread acknowledgement from the rest of society. In such a way, I believe that “itasha” is likely to soon become a mainstream trend in Japanese society.


痛車とは、元来の車好き プラス アニメ・ゲーム好きの連中が始めたものであり、あくまでも車が主体である。彼等の殆どは10代後半から30代までの若者で圧倒的に男子である。彼等は、お気に入りの素材(可愛いい女の子の絵)を探すのに日夜努力し、自分のお気に入りが見つかると、それを“嫁”と称してあらゆるところにステッカーにして貼りまくる。最初は車に貼り、次第に身の回りの小物類にもそれは範囲を広げ、部屋の中も当然そうなり、終には“嫁”に囲まれて毎日を過ごす。まさに至福の境地である。

世間一般からみれば、それはとても奇妙な光景かもしれない。しかし、普段は他人に何ら迷惑を掛けることなく、いたって真面目に仕事をし、しかもドライブする時は遥かに交通ルールを良く守り生活している連中なのである。一方、世間一般人は彼らのことをオタク(非常にマニアックで奇妙な人間)と呼び(多少、軽蔑的な意味をも含め)自分達の感覚と区別しようとする。 しかし、これは大きな間違いである。いつの時代でも、時代を先取りし過ぎた人は変人扱いされ、排他的、否定的な扱いを受けてきた。