Abstract: The Import Scene

Blog members:

Ricelia Layus

Aaron Dias

John Okcuoglu

Phong Khau


In this project, we plan to create a blog that will be updated throughout the remainder of the class on the Import car/tuner scene and how Asian Americans are associated with this type of popular culture. We will discuss different aspects of the motorsport community in which Asian Americans are stereotyped to be involved in drifting, the speedbump-crawlers of the hellaflush movement, showcasing/car shows, and more. We will discuss how these topics relate to popular culture, and how they display aspects of hypermasculinized Asian American men in the  in contrast to hypersexualized Asian American women in the import scene. We will include commentary and analysis on the portrayal of Asian American men and how they are portrayed in the tuner world in contrast to Asian American women and the sexism that they experience.


We will be analyzing sources like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, providing individual commentary, expressing our own personal views as well as our shared views on the portrayals of Asian Americans on the street racing scene in movies, and determining how accurate these portrayals are in relation to the real world. Within the movie, we will also be examining the the racial hierarchies and the character of Han. We will be using car forums (such as Zilvia.net, Club4AG, Honda-tech, etc.) to display methods of communication that these people use to keep in touch, trade parts, and share knowledge across the world. We will also discuss how car culture is heavily gendered and oriented around a male audience, using hypersexualized (and usually Asian American) women models to sell parts, as well as to advertise events to the male dominated crowd of the import scene. We will also include a video interview with an associate online editor for Super Street, Import Tuner, and Honda Tuning magazine, discussing similar subjects about the street racing scene and Asian Americans.  We will each be sharing our own personal experiences with this type of popular culture and how we see the tuner scene. We will also be posting discussion topics (videos, pictures, etc.) that all of us will discuss amongst each other and hopefully with the class as well. Stay tuned- we’ll keep you boosted! I mean posted.



1. Moritz, N., Lin, J.. 2006. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. United States of America: Universal Studios.

2. Jofel Tolosa, Associate Online Editor for Super Street, Import Tuner, and Honda Tuning – Source Interlink Media (Video Interview Date: TBA).

3. Gonzales, Robyn Magalit Rodriguez and Vernadette Vicuña. “Asian American Auto/ Biographies: The Gendered LImits of Consumer Citizenship in Import Subcultures.” Alien Encounters. n.d. 248-266.

4. Kwon, Soo Ah. “Autoexoticizing: Asian American Youth and the Import Car Scene.” Journal of Asian American Studies, Volume 7, Number 1. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2004. 1-27.

5. Weksos Industries. “WekFest LA 2012.” Long Beach : Weksos Industries, 2 June 2012.



2 thoughts on “Abstract: The Import Scene

  1. Looks like this could be a very exciting project. One minor note, do make sure you define the terms you use (drifting, speedbump-crawlers, hellaflush movement, showcasing/car shows, etc.). It might be helpful to have a separate dictionary page and offer definitions and examples.

    Some larger questions: What is the cultural significance (this may be an opinion that you all argue) of the Import Car/Tune scene? Did this movement respond to something? Does it still? What community emerges as a result? You mention a vague “these people” in the second paragraph. Who are they? What connects and unites them? What conflicts emerge?

    And you guys probable know about these already, but: https://www.facebook.com/ImportSweethearts
    LA Times Article on female racers: http://articles.latimes.com/2000/aug/02/news/cl-62717
    Female drifters: http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2012/9/2/5-Fantastic-Female-Drifters-7710418/ (the politics of gender in the car enthusiast community!)

    And watch out for typos! There are a few in the above abstract.

  2. I guess you could say I’m a fan of import cars after owning a Subie myself. I consider myself an all around car enthusiast though. Looking forward to this, seems interesting!

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