Japan might look like a pretty uniform nation from a distance. Whichever area you visit in Japan you can find everyone pretty much speaking the same language, the trains always run on time, the buildings and streets look similar, and the toilets wow with their high tech features.
As with any country though, you look closer you look at Japan, the more differences you see. You begin to pick up on unique distinct language dialects, regional cuisine, and unique customs that vary as you travel the country. It’s the same with cars. The longer I’ve been exposed to Japanese automotive culture, the more I’ve begun to pick up on these regional variations in motoring habits.
I don’t think there’s anything more distinct than Osaka’s Kanjo culture, of all these “local flavors”. I suppose I should answer the question, “What is the Kanjo?” before I move on to the cars. The Kanjo Loop itself is an elevated section of the Hanshin Expressway which circles in a clockwise direction at the center of Osaka.
Not surprisingly, info on the history of the Kanjo is hard to come by, and I’m still trying to learn all I can about the beginnings of this movement. The craze kicked off in earnest in the mid-1980s, and the Honda Civic was the popular choice from the get-go. The “Wonder” Civic in Japan, the third-generation Civic Si, became an early favorite among Kanjozoku with is DOHC power plant and responsive chassis that was well-suited to the loop’s tight bends. You don’t see too many of the classic Wonder Civics today, but they are still loved and respected on the streets of Osaka.