What is true JDM?

What is true JDM? - Japanese

What does JDM mean?

JDM stands for Japanese Domestic Market and is used to refer to anything made in Japan for the Japanese market and the Japanese Market only and there are constant misconseptions.

These days what people refer to as a “JDM car” isn’t really JDM.

What is true JDM? - Japanese

Here you see a LHD Toyota Supra and the majority of people will call this JDM when really it’s not, it’s USDM. You see due to Japan having different rules and regulations for their cars than the rest of the world after a Japanese company makes a car for the Japanese market they have to change it for it to match rules and regulations. So this Supra is USDM because it was made for the US market only and the original JDM supra has been changed to match the US regulations.

What is true JDM? - Japanese

This is a Honda CR-X, possibly one of the best cars of the 80s, for the Japanese market or a JDM model the best engine you could get was a 1.6L DOHC VTEC B16A1 which had 150 HP and had a 8200 RPM redline. The US market(USDM) had a slightly different ‘best’ engine. The USDM model got a 1.6L SOHC non VTEC D16A6 which had 108 HP and had a 6500 RPM redline. This is yet another example where the JDM model got a better spec than the US model.

And still these USDM cars are being called JDM. People need to understand what true JDM is and where JDM car culture originated.

Who started JDM car culture?

What is true JDM? - Japanese
What is true JDM? - Japanese

There are two main groups for starting JDM car culture: The Mid Night Club and The Kanjozoku.


The Kanjozoku are a group of people who race exclusively civics on the Osaka Loop in Osaka. They were asked why out of all the cars to come out of Japan they use the civic they said:

The Civic definately has a unique charm. It's fast, stops on a dime and handles very well. We've driven different FRs like the 86 Levins but the Civic is definately a seductive car. I've always been a fan of the Civic, but it's different when you take one for a ride. The VTEC engine, how it's amazingly nimble, and the fact that you can outrun more powerful cars, these are the reasons why i can't stop using the Civic. The Kanjo is filled with ordinary drivers, and a Civic can weave through this traffic perfectly. It's the best car for the Kanjo. The root of the Civic culture stems from the fact that Suzuka Circuit is so close to Osaka. You see, at Suzuka Circuit they made Civic "one make" races a long time ago. We brought that "one make" style directly onto the Kanjo. That's why "JDM" is really something that originated from the Osaka /Kansai area. You can look all over Japan but you won't find a scene where the Civic is so dominant.

If you would like to learn more about the Kanjozoku watch this video and read this Speedhunters article and my own article i wrote:

Mid Night Club

The Mid Night Club was an illegal Japanese street racing gang who raced on the Bayshore Route also called the Wangan at speeds of over 300KM/H at midnight and is highly credited for their bravery and skill and also for starting what we know today as Japanese car culture. The Bayshore route is a 70KM stretch of highway with a number of daring turns and beautiful straights. If you would like to learn more about them please read CTzen Debodeep’s blogpost on them:

What really is JDM car culture

Now we’ve established what a JDM car is we need to establish what JDM car culture is, so what is it?

JDM car culture isn’t not doing this and doing that, it’s doing whatever you want and having other people respect you for the work you’ve put into it. Say you put lots of money and effort into building your car the way you want it and then take it to a meet and have people respect it wether they like it or not, that is true JDM car culture. It’s modifing your car just to have a laugh with your friends or just because you like it and not needing a reason as to why you like it and why you’ve done this and that. That is true JDM car culture.

I really hope this gets to the mainstream and people understand the true meaning of JDM and it’s car culture.

I have been CTzen MR2maniac, thank you for reading and goodbye!