Behind The Scenes>>  Interview With Daijiro Inada

We've all heard the rumors that have spread through the internet recently regarding the split between D1 and its two biggest personalities, Daijiro Inada and the great Keiichi Tsuchiya. D1 and these two guys go hand in hand like drifting and tire-smoke, or so that is what everyone thought until last month. Rumors started spreading through the Tsukuba paddock at the Rev Speed Lap Battle, most people shocked at the news that hinted Yokohama had also pulled out, leaving 12 or so drivers without sponsorship. Since then we've heard all sorts of things from D1 not having enough entrants to continue in 2011, to Dai-chan and Tsuchiya setting up their own rivaling drift championship. 

With the need to find out what really happened we thought there would be no better way than to ask the man himself, Dai-chan.

So a few days ago I headed to the Dee's Club Headquarters in Tokyo, the place where Option, Option 2, Drift Tengoku and G-Works are all born from. The huge orange building is located in Shinkiba right next to the wangan. It's pretty easy to spot due to all tuned cars parked up along the street, obviously the guys that are involved in the above publications are very passionate about their work!

When I arrive I spot Dai-chan's Porsche parked up outside, meaning the big man was already inside waiting for me.

Stepping into the office I'm greeted by Mamina-san, Dai-chan's daughter, who mentions it's a really good time to ask some questions about what happened as things have settled down since the split.  Daijiro is his usual casual self, greeting me at the door with a well-defined "usssss," acknowledging my presence in a very Japanese way. Without wasting any time I place a tape recorder on the desk and begin the interview…

SH. First off thanks you for giving us time today. Before we get into D1 let's talk briefly about your history and how you got started with Option, the Tokyo Auto Salon and D1 Grand Prix.

Dai. It all began from my love of cars and racing. With racing being out of the hands of most people it was tuning that allowed enthusiasts to get their thrills but it was all very strict and illegal back then. So I though that if everyone got into it, it would be impossible for the Police to arrest everyone that would tinker with their car, so basically that is where the idea of Option came from. We began to show how you could modify your car and soon the movement started. People in the publishing industry initially associated Option with illegal tuning; people thought that if you read Option you would end up getting arrested! I even heard stories of people reading the magazine on the sly, hiding for fear of being recognized as hashiriya! The Tokyo Auto Salon came two years after Option and with it I wanted to diffuse the notion of tuning more publicly so even people that didn't understand what this movement was all about could get into it. I got resistance from the Police, as they were afraid of allowing me to hold the show since tuning was "illegal." It all worked out in the end however once I explained that it wasn't going to be a bunch of bosozoku that would come over but true enthusiast. I couldn't believe the resistance I got initially, it was fine for import cars to have tons of power but if I touched my car even a little, moving the rearview mirror position to the fenders for example, the car would automatically fail the shaken test. This really bothered me, as it just didn't make any sense, like the 280PS power limit for domestic cars. Plus with the lack of space in Japan, most people can only have one car, so what is wrong with making your daily driver a little more fun to drive. As for drifting, well that was something that developed up in the touge (mountain passes) around Japan and with it gaining so much popularity we wanted to take it away from the public roads and bring it to the track to make it safer and easier to watch. From there competition developed into Ikaten and then D1 followed a little later. 

SH. What were the differences of opinion when it came to D1-GP in 2010?

In the beginning D1 was a coming together of friends, the drivers, Keiichi Tsuchiya, Option Video and myself. To make things more official we had to create a separate company and appoint a head of operations which was given to the person in charge of Option Video. All went well until about a year and a half ago when this person was replaced. The new director began to make us feel like it was only the D1 Corporation running things, and doing so for the wrong reasons. We got the impression that we were only a part of it all to bring money in and since we didn't have a majority stake in the corporation our word didn't count for much even if we were the guys that originally started it all. We think of ourselves as "pure drifters" and wanted to improve the sport, but we were met with objections as our decisions apparently, wouldn't have brought enough people to the each round. We were told that if we didn't get at least 5000 to 10,000 people at each event the whole D1 would have been pointless. They were trying to turn D1 into a series as big as Super GT, just looking for the business side of it and forgetting what the fans want to see. I even offered to take over the D1 Corporation but was rejected, so even if Tsuchiya and I were begged to say we decided to leave, as we just don't believe in what D1 are shooting for these days. We were told that D1 would continue with or without us, but with them not managing to make any sort of profit even after taking the sport to huge circuits like Fuji and Okayama I don't see how they can survive.

SH. Have you had any sort of feedback from the drivers and sponsors since breaking the news?

Yes the drivers didn't want us to leave as we have all developed a good relationship with each other over the years. The judging in D1 is pretty much up to Keiichi Tsuchiya, he is the Drift King, he is respected and revered and everyone strives to be awarded that perfect 100-point run from the great Dorikin. Without Tsuchiya there, who are they driving for? That's why everyone is interested in what we have planned, now that we finally have the chance to start from scratch. 2011 will be a trial year to start off with, we will concentrate in bringing drifting back to smaller courses and begin to make it more official from 2012. The reason D1 drivers have improved so much over the years…

…is that they have pushed themselves to satisfy Tsuchiya's requests, be it in the racing lines he wanted to see at various circuits as well as special moves and techniques. This is why everyone has shown an interest in what we will come up with soon. Our aim for this year is to keep focusing on improving the overall skill of drifting in Japan.

As soon as the new D1 Corporation president took over and pushed to commercialize the sport more and more, Tsuchiya often argued with him and I knew that sooner or later he wouldn't stand for it any more. I tried my best to keep everyone happy but it was just too hard. A break up was unavoidable for the future of drifting

SH. Any thought on the US drift scene? Would you and Tsuchiya-san ever hold another event in the US?

I think they have already developed their own unique style and with so many cars running big V8s they definitely have something that is identifiably American. That's why if we do end up going back there in the future we could collaborate to organize something fun with them. So if you guys want us to come to the US just let us know, we will be there!

SH. What are your thoughts on the impact of the financial crisis on Japan's aftermarket scene?

Well tuning is obviously a luxury. Like with any similar kind of hobby, in times of trouble you have to cut down so it's no surprise that following the economic crisis tuners and parts makers have been struggling. Enthusiasts have compensated by finding economical ways to tune and upgrade their cars and holding back on the big stuff so you might not see as many people running big turbines, but just making do with "boost-up" modifications.

SH. Any future plans? Where do you think the tuning scene is heading towards? 

With cars moving towards hybrid and electric power I think we will find people sticking to older cars, the modern classics. Tuning will continue to evolve and people will keep modifying so they can stay faster than expensive modern exotics. That's what modifying is all about right? Perfect example is the new car I just had built in the US, a first-gen LHD Toyota Celica with an SR20 and Silvia running gear! It only weighs 900 kg. It should be arriving in Japan soon, so make sure you check it out at the Exciting Car Showdown.

SH. What is in your opinion the most influential tuner car you have come across all these years in the JDM scene?

Uhm, it probably has to be the S30 Fairlady Z. That's the car that really kicked off the whole Japanese tuning scene and I have fond memories of it.

SH. We always see you do high-speed runs and tests on Option DVDs; what's the scariest car you have ever driven?

That would be the Veilside R34 GT-R I drove in New Zealand. That thing was a beast and just wouldn't go straight down the narrow road we were doing the speed run on. It was so hard to drive I just wanted to let go of the steering wheel so it would all be over quickly!

SH. What's your most proud accomplishment?

Getting tuning accepted.

After the interview Dai-chan took us down in the garage area of the building where all the project cars of the various publications are kept. I spotted this Z31 in a semi-abandoned state. Maybe waiting for a restoration? 

The place is like the best "man cave" ever with a few car lifts and a dedicated space where project cars can be worked on. This is the changer and wheel balancer Dai-can often uses to change or rotate his tires. Not a bad set up uh?

Out back there is a makeshift studio area, where a black drape can be slid over the walls of the building for those last minute photoshoots. Another great find was this slammed NA.

Nice Hakosuka!

I'd like to thank Dai-chan for his time and his daughter Mamina for all her help in setting up the interview and visit! 

Dee's Club

Option Magazine 

-Dino Dalle Carbonare



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

For the last decade I have enjoyed Option and Option 2 magazine from VHS to their DVD series. I am glad that the next level is comming up. Ikatan was pretty much it back then, KEN NOMURA , Manabu Orido, Nobuteru Taniguchi, and Nobushige Kumakubo back before TEAM ORANGE. These were the guys to watch out for back in the day. Then D1 hit and it made a huge impact, make for some of the best newcomers and inturn are some of the biggest names of today. I can wait to see what Dai has up his sleeve, I am sure its gonna be huge ..... GIVE IT HELL ! ! !


truly a trendsetter and a living legend


My utmost respect for this guy.

My passion for cars is , plain and simple, a result of the Option and Doriten videos. I'll support whatever Dai is cooking up!


Dai-chan is the greatest,


This was a good article. My highest regards go to him and the drift king.


this guy never go to die and will not die......jesus~~


once again, professional coverage from speedhunters.


i love how casual the garage looks being such an established name in the tunning scene! not something you see very often!! maybe....


Thanks for the honest insight into what went down and where it's going. Daijiro is the man!


AWESOME article.


Dai has been my hero since 1999 and hin and Dori Dori are GODS and should be treated as sutch by the current heads of D1 not to mention anyone who thinks of opposing there traditions. I have nothing but the best prayers and wishes for them as I do to speedhunters for bringing everything automotive to us. God bless the scene all aspects and all who participate, WE ARE A RARE BREED LETS STAY TRUE TO ARE HEART AND THE IMPORT REVOLUTION WILL NEVER DIE.........


awesome write up. seems like a cool guy


FIRST!! and Mamina is pretty hot too!


first hand info rulesss.... thkz... thkz god they'll keep drift scene for real...


they wont have any trouble getting fans to follow and attend their events. They have full support of the tuning society. D1 will die within two years and be replaced by their series.


Great interview, Dino! Maybe you will do such an interview with the Dorikin or some other legendary japaneese car culture guys? Anyway, thank you!


Dai's daughter is a cutie!

I wonder why Dai isn't interested in Time Attack?


Dai-chan is the greatest,


dude im glad they both left i mean if d1 was getting all about the money n stupid shit like that 2 great people such as them didnt need to be there is all about fun so what if 10 thousand people dont come fuck them that means u need to do something to spice things up a bit money just isnt what drifting about is about skill and just having fun d1 was made to test drivers skills against each other they obviously went into a diff direction cant wait to see what tsuchiya n this dude are gonna come up with


This was a good article. My highest regards go to him and the drift king.


D1 was cool, but I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves next! It should be EPIC!

On another note, is Dai's daughter sporting some camel toe?


my nigga* GOGO hahaha one funny stupid guy lol


I always wondered why they stepped away from Tsukuba, Bihoku, and Sekia Hills. Those courses helped make D1 back then fun to watch. I honestly didn't like seeing bigger courses like Okayama thrown into the mix. People have the right idea, wherever Dai-chan and Dorikin go, the masses will follow. I just hope the Drivers, Tire manufacturers, Sponsors, etcc, can and will follow as well.


Great article...can't wait to see what they have in store.


Not all in America enjoy the USA style with big V8's and American cars. Maybe the future will inspire the next generation and bring the roots back.

Come back to the US.


awesome article.. i loved it


Showing support for a US event like you asked Dai!! I can't wait to see and support the new effort you guys make over there though, I'm glad to see that you and Tsuchiya stand for the values I thought you did back in my highschool days all those years ago. A true love for the sport while challenging and striving for more. Keep up the good work and I'll keep supporting it.

@Drift Kiwi - Dino is speaking from his personal experience and interview, not rumors. Why would he give credit to 7tune for the story when he did use there info for his article he instead went straight to the source?? He states in the beginning that he has heard many rumors but does not directly quote or tell the story of any specific rumor but in fact several different stories he has heard in a very brief summary.So therefor no information is stolen. Dino's story wasn't about 7tunes rumors, it was about Dai's interview based on many rumors he's been hearing in person.


Very good interview with nice shots. Superb journalism!


I have a lot of respect for Dajiro Inada.

Also props to the interviewer, the questions asked were great.


People like you Dai-san, keeps our dreams alive. Thanks for sticking in the true form of this sport!


What an excellent interview. I had no idea he was the one that drove the Veilside GT-R, that was the first R34 I ever fell in love with. Awesome \m/,



I will be waiting for your great proyect !...............

long live the drift and passion for this !................


Hey Dino, calling him "Dai-chan" is an insult. You should be using at least "Dai-san" and probably "Dai-sama" since he is a living legend. "-chan" is for young girls.

Excellent article, but that needs to be corrected!


I am very glad that this issue is now in understanding. I was very worried about the future of drifting when I first heard of the split. Now I am extremely excited about the direction drifting will be headed.

Thank you very much speedhunters for this coverage. Greatly appreciated.


that's some solid journalism, Dino! more in this vein would be much appreciated.


Ive been following D1 since 2003 and i must say since 2008 it has become abit dull..its really sad hearing the news of dai,keiichi and yokohama leaving .. BUT .. as i know daijiro he is a man with a true tuning heart and he wont go down .. I miss the days of flippin open a option dvd n seeing kazama and suenaga batteling for a championship separated with 1 point hearing the blitz skyline of nomura going insane and ken joking around..seeing manabu orido crashing and the fans going mad for it..keiichi laughing when they crash..all that has been killed out of the D1 series since 2008..D1 has gone from the crazy nuts of motorsport to just another championship series..COME ON DAIJIRO start over i beg you make drifting like its ment to be fun not for the support it 100%..


Great interview, really wanted to hear the story and that's it first hand. Thank you.


Is it just me or is he not looking at you during the \"interview\"? I reckon y\'all had some other Japanese doin the interview and you were just a shooter.


nice interview and write-up Dino!

can't wait to see what they are gonna do for 2011 and beyond..

they said they will take drifting back to smaller tracks? that should be fun!

top jpb again mate!

Disco Stu


It’s great to hear Daijiro and Keiichi are starting a new series catered more towards the drift fan instead of just making money off sponsors and the ticket gate. I was offered free tickets to Formula D but other than rooting for Taka Aono’s AE86, there wasn’t anything I could relate to, so I turned the tickets down. Hopefully this new series comes to the U.S.


Thank you Dino & thank you Dai.


Yes! Come to the US for another drift event!! :)


Awesome guy. Clearly loves the car and race scene for what it is due to hime being a father for it in Japan


what an amazing guy. haha NZ rep!!


Nice read. Gave me lots of info.


It seems that corporate greed exists in any country. I look forward to smaller tracks, and a return to grassroots style competition.


UM Yes, Please come and Collaborate with America!

Plus I agree with getting rid of D1, back to drifting, less Japanese game show theme, more option feel




Amazing, this interview sends shivers down my body.


Veilside gtr --346kph / 216.25mph on a piece of road that was not flat , only 6.m/20ft wide with no run off , in the wet , Massive Balls .


Dai-Chan and Keeichi are pure enthusiasts from the heart and legends forever..


Because they waled away from D1 when it started becoming all about money/commercial.

They are the perfect example of : KEEP DRIFTING FUN!!!!

Formula D = Commercial


Just wanted to say fantastic jornalism Dino! Thank you for going to the effort to keep us in the loop and go Daijiro


US events please! I'll be there!


Can anyone tell me what's been done to that Porsche? It's gorgeous.


Great article, this information was needed!

I only wish you could have asked this small question: if he agreed with D1 drift cars having near 1000HP, leaving more traditional vehicles out of the competition, such as the AE86.

BTW, I can see your Legacy on the third picture.


Sweet interview. Could he be the Stig's Japanese cousin? (pic 10)


Great write up. Not often are there are English translated interviews with these guys! Thanks.


Lol. I would actually have a desktop of the 1st or 9th picture. Such a boss :D


sweet Hollister shirt


Extraordinary work Speedhunters.


@Drift kiwi - ok so your basically saying that speedhunters is in the wrong because when they heard rumors at the tracks they went to. They decided to schedule an interview with Dai, instead of copying and pasting the article from 7tune from Tsuchiya and giving them all the credit... Hmm ... So in your world we wouldn't have a interview with Dai, we would just have the 7tune article posted here. When now we have two interviews from two different people, regarding the same situation. Oh and your saying that because speedhunters investigated a rumor, instead of checking every car blog/news site/twitter updates from everyone in the motorsports world/ and basically spend the next 6 months to make sure no single person in the entire world has posted even a glimmer of what this article topic refers to. They did not give proper credit? Your on a far stretch here... both sites covered the same topic, but from different angles and perspectives. If you wanted to get technical about it and use your flawed rules, speedhunters would need to give Tsuchiya's site the credit, not 7tune. 7tune gave Tsuchiya's site credit, but that's because it was the source of there info. Where as Dai was the source of speedhunters article. Get it? A news site doesn't give credit to all other news sites that reported the story first. They only credit the direct or copied information that they use.


Steve is 10000000000% right... Dai-chan is a really good way to discredit himself.

-San, -Sama, -Dono, whatever you want, but not -chan. ^^

Other than that great article, excellent questions and all the best for their new project.

Ciao Dino, ottimo lavoro come sempre, qui in Italia c'è gente che darebbe via la propria madre per essere al tuo posto! ^^


Ok.. His nickname is Dai-chan, that's why he is referred that way.

Even the manly'est guys you can think of, often have a shortened (to one syllable) name with chan added.

I always said Daijiro-san, because we are not close.

Books will tell you it's for girls/young boys only though. :)

Definitely a legend, wish all the best on new endeavour.


"Dai-chan" is Daijiro's nickname ;)


dai chan seems like a nice guy, wish i could meet him for real


Oh, and great article as always Dino.. shot!


Já tava a vendo a decadencia do D1, quando proibiram de postar os videos atuais da video option com as etapas atuais, queria tanto que voltassemos aquele tempo...


dai chan seems like a nice guy, wish i could meet him for real


@Dino - Thanks for clearing that up! I was thinking to myself "I hope he doesn't have anyone read this article." I figured it was a pretty novice mistake for a dude who lives here, but, in all my daily interactions, I have never heard of a grown male referred to as "-chan" shortened name or not.


Awesome article and awesome.


Whops... forgive my ignorance... ^^

I wasn't informed about the nickname! Shame on me! lol!

Best respect for both of you Dai and Dino!


Our Behind the Scenes theme continues now with a preview look at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon Show. As you


great read.


Dino, Thank you! made my day.

Dai is a hero, just amazing!!!


It looks like all may not be lost for the D1 Grand Prix drift championship for 2011. Following the controversial


It's been six months since Daijiro Inada and Keiichi Tsuchiya split from the D1 Grand Prix drift


Wow! This is a good read! I'm surprised no one commented on it, give or take this is an article from 2011. However, I would've expected some old school tuning fan to stumble upon this at some point!


JeremieSunico Seconded!