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[x] Viewing entries with tag: itansha
OTT: Itachari x Itasha x Itansha!
9/26/2013

 

Actually, I own this one.

Hi Elites! Here’s a little something that’s fun for us all.

Are you familiar with one of the latest trends in Otaku culture in Japan? It involves pimping out—or rather geeking out—your vehicle of choice, and showcasing to the world your fandom. This is known as itachari (for bikes), itasha (for cars), and itansha (for motorcycles)! I was first introduced to this trend while reading an article in GEEK magazine this past summer; the article even has steps on DIY itachari.

Since the rise of otaku culture in Japan throughout the 1980’s, itachari, itasha and itansha have gained a rising popularity along with it. It’s essentially a way for otaku of any interests, but especially those into anime, manga, and games, to come out of their shell and display their fandom loud and proud. If this doesn’t shove society’s marginalization of otaku culture back in its face, then I don’t know what does. Danny Choo, perhaps the most famous Japan-culture otaku of our time, has featured itachari, itasha, and itansha on Culture Japan himself, and even went as far as making his own itachari of his beloved mascot Mirai (I can never get over how loaded this guy is).

I like this one. It's very minimalist.

It’s done by plastering images of your favourite characters from games, anime, or manga onto a car or bike. Some even garnish their cars with plushies and pillows. The best place to spot these vehicles is, of course, Akihabara; Japan’s otaku capital! In professional motor sports, these hot-tamalis have their own showings. There are even exhibitions specifically dedicated to them, such as Moe Haku, and other festivals.

 

Top to bottom: Cute Pink itansha. Moe Haku 2010: A Pillow-garnished Itansha

So, what are the origins of these words? Itachari is derived from “itai” and “chari" : the Japanese word “itai” means painful, and “chari” means bicycle. As for “itasha”, according to AGI, it was originally a word used to describe imported Italian cars during Japan’s post-war economy. In this case, “ita” would be short form of “Italy”, while “sha” is the Japanese word for car. However, these days the origin is known as being from the words “itai” and “sha”, meaning painful car. These definitions, “painful bike” and “painful car”, can be interpreted as having vehicles that are painful to look at due to the embarrassment they may bring, and how expensive it costs to have one of these in the first place.

Itaaaiii! Yes, that is a man. =D

I think us western otaku should get on the bandwaggon sometime soon and geek out our own bikes and cars. Well, Maybe just bikes first; my shy demeanor is taking its sweet time shedding away. Other than having passed by a itachari display at my city’s only anime shop, the closest thing I’ve seen of this type of fandom fashion is a youtube video from DC Comics' channel about their humanitarian project "We Can Be Heroes": they teamed up with KIA to design DC-themed cars, and had them showcased at SEMA 2012 . Those cars were auctioned off and the money went towards DC's efforts to fight famine during the drought last year in the Horn of Africa— for the record, amazing way to use your geeky hobby for the greater good, no?

So, how do you like itachari, itasha, and itansha? Do you think we should rip out a page from Japanese otakus’ books? 

P.S. Hey, um. I blog later on Thursdays because I work on Thursdays at school, into the night. It doesn't bother me too much that I do this, but yeah, just a note in case you're wondering. =]

    Achievement!
    Document the discovery of a new anime.
    #38646;