JDM Flag Explained: From Beginner Drivers to Night Racing

The JDM flag, a V-shaped symbol featuring the colors yellow and green, can often be seen on enthusiast cars, fan forums, and lots of Instagram pages. But why yellow and green? Is it a Brazil thing? No, it turns out that this iconic symbol has a very simple but little-known explanation.

The flag is an almost integral part of JDM car shows, but those are not Japanese colors. As you’re probably aware, both the Rising Sun Flag and the simplified Hinomaru feature a big red dot and some form of white background. Using the latter on cars was somewhat frowned upon just like the German iron cross for reasons to do with WWII and such. But we have seen it making a comeback, especially with Liberty Walk builds.

Anyway, the JDM flag has two very good and quite interesting explanations. The first and most obvious is called the Shoshinsha mark, which literally means “beginner” and was introduced in 1972. When you obtain your driving license, Japanese law requires you to have this on both the front and rear of the car for the first year. If you feel unsure about your skill level, you may keep it on even after that.

What’s strange is that this is just one of several stickers in the country that could have been adopted by JDM fans. The Shoshinsha is supposed to be a green leaf… because of new drivers. In 1997, they introduced a red/yellow autumn leaf for old drivers (required over 75), and this was replaced by a 4-color clover in 2011.

There’s also the Choukaku Shogai mark (hearing impaired mark) which is a butterfly and the Shintai Shougai mark (handicapped driver mark) which is like a clover with what looks like an umbrella handle. You get the feeling of just how civilized and nice Japan is from all this. Anywhere else in the world, you’d have a wheelchair.

So how come the “noob” symbol is synonymous with JDM?

The Shoshinsha mark is used for a lot of different things. According to the Wiki, new mothers are given a card with a mark letting support staff know about their limited childcare experience. And new employees may also have such a denomination.

Obviously, some of the Japanese cars that were imported into the States back in the 1990s brought green leaf stickers with them. That could be a very interesting origin story. However, we also found this interesting new video from @boyard7 which sheds light on the subject.

It focuses on Kei Miura, the famous CEO of Pandem Rocket Bunny. You’ve probably heard of the man and his many custom creations, but in Japan, he’s just as famous for his midnight runs. The video showcases Miura-san setting up a group run of the Janjo loop, an expressway. This famous 5-mile stretch of road right in the heart of Osaka has attracted street racers for decades.

To keep things organized and safe, Kei Miura has very strict rules about using signals, overtaking other drivers in the pack, and respecting hierarchy (seniority). New drivers in this racing pack are required to wear the green Shoshinsha patch.



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