We have to remember that this statement was not made by a foreign magazine. This statement was made by perhaps the most popular sport compact enthusiast magazine in America. In the last few years, I have noticed that this particular magazine has become increasingly JDM focused in its coverage of our industry, and with the popularity and excitement created by drifting, a form of motorsports previously exclusive to Japan, it is understandable. Unfortunately, it would seem that the content of this particular magazine is dictated by a few young editors that are blind JDM fanatics, that for some reason, are driven not only to be stupid, but to also kiss the asses of our Japanese counterparts.
Making a statement like "OREWA BAKANA AMERICAN JINDA" crosses a line that should never be crossed. Not only does a statement like that show a lack of understanding of the Japanese mind-set, it also shows a lack of pride in being an American. Though the statement may be funny for some Japanese tuners to read, because many actually believe it to be true, even Japanese people would be shocked that Americans would have such little pride that they would willfully disgrace themselves with shameful statements like "You are a stupid American." In other words, a Japanese person, let alone an industry-leading publication, would never, in a trillion years, print a statement that "I am a stupid Japanese person."
Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with admiring the Japanese culture or their tuning market. In fact, the roots of our market were purely JDM at one point. I look back to the birth of our industry, as we know it today, back in the early 90s. For many of us, the only place we could get information on tuning Japanese compacts was from Japan. At that time Sport Compact Car magazine was featuring vehicles such as first generation Honda Preludes with airbag suspensions and gladiator murals; and even Turbo magazine was featuring turbocharged Buick Grand Nationals and Renault Turbos. The other magazines that are common in our industry today didn't even exist then. Naturally, enthusiasts that were looking for performance parts and a cleaner style had to look elsewhere for inspiration.
We referenced Japanese tuning magazines such as Option, Carboy, Revspeed and AP, to name a few. We started making journeys to Japan's Tokyo Auto Salon as early as 1994 to find out what parts were available for our cars. Back in the early 90s enthusiasts were JDM fanatics because that's all we had. But as the import racing industry evolved, we started having options.
Because many of the early enthusiasts were performance and street racing inspired, we began to move away from many of the Japanese performance products and more towards any product that worked better. For example, we stopped using HKS twin power ignitions and started using MSD ignitions. The mid-to-late 90s became a golden time for enthusiasts. We had the clean look borrowed from Japanese styling, as well as a wide selection of non-Japanese engine parts, turbo kits, and other performance parts. This is what I would like to believe is the American style; the best of both worlds.
Unfortunately, in 2001 Hollywood stepped in with an extremely popular movie that made true enthusiasts sick to their stomachs. As a result, armies of wannabes made up of fair-weather enthusiasts and opportunistic companies invaded our scene, and as a result our industry got off the track. Soon the "clean look" became "misguided styling" defined by pastel paint jobs, battle kits, gigantic rear spoilers, and clear taillights. And nitrous oxide became the cure-all for performance needs. Eventually as the tides receded and the squids went away, our industry was left without a clear focus.