Itasha is the Japanese art of decorating cars with imagery of the most popular characters of manga, comics and videogames.
The term can today be literally translated into “painful cars”: a little bit of a shame considering that such definition stands for cars that look so cute and far away from any negative adjective. The pain probably refers to the wallet (that feels the weight of such a big expense) and maybe to the fact that it could be slightly embarrassing to go out with Sailor Moon on your bonnet!
Rather than that, this trend that started in the 80’s with the decoration of vehicles with stuffed toys and drawings, has today become a highly valuated and certainly colourful artistic expression, manifestation of that Japanese Pop culture that is rapidly spreading in the world.
If you pass by Japan, you can spot some proud Otaku (nearly obsessive fans of everything linked to manga and anime and inventors of the trend) at the guide of these amazing cars in the quartiers of Akihibara in Tokyo, Nipponbashi in Osaka or Osu in Nagoya.
Or, if you have been lucky enough to attend the NiMI Festival 2011 in Florence, you must have seen the Suzuki cars that have been decorated following the Itasha tradition strolling around!
In case you missed that, just take a look at these fab snaps!