Tsurikawas in different shapes and colours flat laid on a black background

Tsurikawa - The Fun Origins & Meanings Behind JDM’s Favourite Accessory

You may have noticed on the streets or at car scenes that these handles are being hung in cars or on their rear bumpers, and you might wonder: but why?

Well, in this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of these ‘weird things’, aka Tsurikawa, pronounced ‘tsoo-ree-kah-wah’, from its fun origins to its significance in JDM culture.

It All Started With Hot-Blooded Bosozoku Gangs

Tsurikawa, meaning ‘strap’ in Japanese, was originally designed to be a functional train strap for commuters in Japan. Since the 1970s, members of Bosozoku (暴走族,Japanese biker gangs) would steal Tsurikawa and attach them to their bikes and cars as a sign of rebellion. It became their way to distinguish themselves from mainstream society and demonstrate their affliation with the subculture. Paired with their love for jazzed-up Japanese domestic sports cars, the Tsurikawa soon became an inseparable trophy for those who wanted to taunt the law in their JDM rides. Don’t we all like to stand out from the crowd!

A Symbol of JDM Culture

Today, the Tsurikawa has transcended the subculture and become a symbol of JDM car culture as a whole. Japanese car enthusiasts around the world use them to express their passion for JDM culture and showcase their personality.

The designs of Tsurikawa have also evolved from single ring design to various shapes such as heart, broken heart, sakura, star, cloud etc., in different vibrant colours. These features make them a beloved car accessory for everyone, everywhere! Commercialised production also means you don’t have to steal one just to make a statement! (While this will cut one wild story short to tell your grandkids in 50 years, we’d prefer to keep everyone on the good side of the law)

A white tsurikawa hung in a JDM car

Popularity in Australia

JDM car culture has been flourishing for many years Down Under thanks to the open import-export Japanese cars market. Enthusiasts would find any way to make their cars look appealing. Tsurikawa, as an iconic Japanese car accessory with eye-catching designs, has naturally become car lovers’ staple adornment. From Sydney to Melbourne, you will spot these handle straps hanging from Aussies’ rides, injecting a bit of Japanese flair into the car scene.

How to Install a Tsurikawa

It couldn’t be easier to install a Tsurikawa. All you need is a stylish Tsurikawa and a Philips-type screwdriver. The installation process might be slightly different, but the rule of thumb is unscrew the screws to open the fasteners, hang it where you wish, screw back and tighten all screws onto the strap.

TLDR? Check this video for a demonstration!

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