In 1997, the ILIOS group set out to hold the first Osaka Auto Messe. They did so in the shadows of the Tokyo Auto Salon. To their surprise, with local tuners growing weary of Kanto tuners catching the spotlight, the Kansai-jin irrupted at full volume to the cause, bringing 256 cars and 122 booths in two halls. With audiences topping 150,000, the time had come for Kansai to have a show rivaling Tokyo.

Now in its 12th year, the show doesn't disappoint. A total of 239,677 attendees braved the snow-a rare sightIn these parts-this year to a show that has burgeoned to 645 cars and 287 booths in all of Intex-Osaka's seven halls. The thing we love about shows in Japan is that they're so focused driven. Although we're not opposed to it, the show car contingent are a limited sect, and precedence is put upon go-fast parts and tuning pathology. One thing we're definitely not opposed to is the occasional eye candy, but so much for my male libido. Other than the otaku being on the prowl the atmosphere is relatively laid-back with local motoring fans and family guys alike spending the three-dayweekend obsessing over the machinery.

OE muscle was flexed by the likes of Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Suzuki, and Subaru campaigning the future (and their legacy) in tuning platforms, namely the CTR, GT-R, Vitz, SX4, and STI. Large corporations like Yellow Hat, Autobacs, Dunlop, Volk, and Ogura each answered the call with their own brand of tuning, but we were just as elated to see demo cars unique to Kansai. Noteworthy stops included booths from HKS- Kansai Service and their 17-demo car display, small garages like TCP Magic of Hyogo and their all-carbon skin S14, and medium-sized garages like Endless of Kobe.

All things considered, we thought very highly of the show and believe that it adequately pays tribute to the Kansai-jin's contribution to the tuning world. As for western Japan's inferiority complex with the east, Osaka Auto Messe may very well give the show in Tokyo a run for their money.