JDM Culture and Japanese Custom License Plates – The New Trend!

JDM Culture and Japanese Custom License Plates – The New Trend!

This article is to highlight the burgeoning JDM Trend and the popularity it is gaining in the American Automobile Market and the differences between JDM and Japanese cars available in America!


JDM Culture

Three letters are gaining more and more popularity among enthusiasts of Japanese automobiles in recent times – Those three letters are JDM. This acronym stands for Japanese Domestic Market, meaning products that are manufactured in Japan for domestic consumers. So why are Japanese Car enthusiasts in America so particular about “JDM” cars and car parts versus those that are exported from Japan and sold in North America?

Does this mean that the same make and model cars exported for sale in the US are inferior? No, not really. Yet, a Honda made in Japan is different from a Honda made in the US, and enthusiasts know this. Japanese traditionally have a tendency to hold themselves to slightly higher standards, and this shows in the cars available for domestic consumption in Japan. Japanese brands like Honda, Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, Suzuki, Lexus, Mitsubishi, and Nissan have steadily gained popularity among American car enthusiasts since the early 1990s. Making your Japanese car as close to the ‘Authentic’ JDM version as possible, down to the license plate, is a goal of many of these enthusiasts.

Let’s look at some reasons Japanese cars are rising in popularity, as well as some of the mistakes enthusiasts are making in their pursuit of ‘JDM’ authenticity.



True JDM


What is this True JDM you may ask? Is there a False JDM also?

For all those Fast and Furious and Paul Walker fans – An  Japanese Car sold in America for American roads but fitted with JDM parts is not considered a JDM by the true connoisseurs! A JDM imported car but fitted with other accessories is not a JDM either!!!! Only JDM cars bought from authorized JDM dealers with JDM parts are considered as True JDM!! They are so particular about it that only the original works.


  • Old JDM has to be dumped in Japan and Junkyard owners are making a profit! 


There are Car cemeteries in Japan called the Kyusha Cemeteries where the old cars meet their maker as the government is very strict about driving old cars and the damage to the environment! These high powered cars and car parts are now dumped in America and the junkyard owners in Japan make a skyrocketing profit out of this! But of course – this applies to only Supra and Skylines! Kei is not in the front seat for this!


  • Tuning up the engine is a breeze…


Tuning up a 25-year-old car from Japan is still a breeze because of the modularity of the engines. One can crank them up to 500 horses or even more with very minimal cost and paying a far higher price for these cars makes it more worthy than a new car that cannot be cranked up.


  • Please do not use the green and yellow arrow stickers.


We often come across these cars in America with Yellow and green Arrow stickers because some JDM owners think that stands for JDM. In Japan, they actually stand for someone who is a novice driver and is driving for less than a year. So please avoid this as this means that you are on a learner’s permit, please.



Here comes the Drift


Tokyo Drift is the immortal maneuver which has caused a flurry in the auto world from the ’70s onwards when Kunimitsu Takahashi over-steered in the corners and a storm of dust and tire smoke billowed from the rear end. The front end wheels remain in control but the rear wheels look like they are losing traction and control. This maneuver has been the centerpiece of every movie in Hollywood and every budding race driver boasts of this to get entry into the big boys league.


  • GT & JDM – The intricate relationship


There is a lot of giving and take between the Game – Gran Turismo and JDM. While a lot of Japanese cars have been incorporated into the same which has caused a surge of popularity for these cars, a lot of cars featured in the game have been brought to life by car companies like Lexus and Mazda. This has in turn turned the JDM cars to cult status.


  • 25 year cooling time  and turbo kits 


There is a rule that cars can be imported into the U.S only after 25 years of its release in the Japanese Domestic Markets. So a car like Skyline GT-R was legal only some time back. Now JDM cars are shipped in plenty so this is an ideal time to realize the JDM dream which you had harbored!


  • J-Spec /JDM


J-spec cars are those cars made by the Japanese car companies for the U.S and other International Markets. These are specifically made for American roads and are not for the Japanese Domestic Market. The main difference in both these is the horsepower and there was a limit to the maximum horsepower for American roads but that has been revised after the Honda Legend of 2004 so now higher horsepower are available in America

There are of course more reasons for the burgeoning JDM culture and the popularity of Japanese Cars. But with a JDM, a Japanese Custom License plate is a given.

jdm culture license plate

Japanese Custom License Plates

So far you have read about JDM and how getting a JDM car is surely going to elevate you into the cool club but obviously the License plate also has to match the class! So how else to pronounce to the world that you have a purebred JDM- the answer is in Japanese Custom License plates.

These custom license plates are the perfect accessories for your JDM – At Autoplates – you can make your own Custom Japanese License Plates – Personalizing your license plate is easy to do with our Japanese Plate Builder. Our Japanese drift car custom license plate products are durable and look awesome on your ride. The embossed license plates are made from durable high-grade aluminum. You can add custom text as well as the year to it!



Bryce Newell is an automotive enthusiast who loves to write about the latest news, products, and DIY projects. While Bryce is an amateur in the field, he is passionate about cars and has been since he spent weekends in the garage helping his dad rebuild a 68 Dodge Charger as a kid.

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