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.



Final Project Idea

Hello everyone!

I am planning on doing a blog for the final project on the import car scene and how it is associated with issues of race and gender and how Asians have been incorporated into this fad of colorful fast cars that struggle to make it over large speed bumps because they are too low. I noticed that many of the introductions and discussions in class have brought up the topic of modified cars, so I hope this interests many of you. For this blog, I thought it would be interesting to analyze the movie The Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift, observe how Asian women are portrayed (in car shows, magazines, etc.), discuss how the hobby of modifying cars is limited to men,  and how racial categories are often created within these communities. It also might be interesting to observe how this scene is portrayed in media (youtube, movies, etc.) which often enforces stereotypes, racism, and sexism. This is just a rough outline of what I think is important to discuss, but not limited to it.

As a side note, I really wanted to do this topic because the import scene has been a part of my life for quite some time and being a woman in this specific subgroup has been an interesting experience. I’m really looking forward to hearing other’s experiences, opinions, and observations on the creation and evolution of this Asian male dominated niche. Please let me know if you are interested. =D



Second Generation Asian Americans

Being a second generation Asian American is not easy. One must not only live by the expectations of their parents, they must also learn how to become accepted by their peers, particularly those who are not Asian. In order to gain acceptance from the latter, second generation Asian Americans must create an identity that is associated with the American way of life that they were brought up in. What many overlook is that second generation Asian Americans strive to create identities of their own, apart from the lives of their parents and this is often mistaken as “radical acts.” This self-identity is nearly impossible to reach as the new generation encounters a clash between the forces of the parent’s expectations and the American way they must adhere to, often leaving them in a liminal space and an identity crisis. Second generation Asian Americans are forced into isolation from the acceptance of their parents as well as the American way of life that encourages them to let go of their oriental ways in order to adhere to a more westernized style of doing things. The Character Jin Wang in American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang, portrays a second-generation Asian American’s struggle to be accepted into a world where he is racially other. Jin then becomes stuck in a space between his Chinese heritage and the American culture the surrounds him.


According to Zhou and Lee, in the article, “Asian American Youth: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity Among Asian American Youth,” the Asian American youth culture does not fit into popular images associated with youth culture or subcultures like hip hop artists, rapper, punk rockers, etc (p.1). Rather the second generation strives for a unique identity, which starts by separating themselves from the notion of “model minority,” a limitation that their parents endured upon arriving to America. This idea of model minority is also prevalent in American Born Chinese when Danny’s cousin, Chin-Kee, visits him from China. Not only does the reader automatically detect stereotypes about Asians, the model minority expectation of Asians in America is ubiquitous. Chin-Kee yelled out correct answers in class and replaced all the Ls in his answers with Rs. As soon as it comes to Danny’s math class, the answer Chin-Kee replies to the math problem is correct, including the annunciation. This is a stereotype that Asians are supposed to be math whizzes, gearing them toward a future of math and science professions. It is apparent that the idea of model minority strengthens the Asian stereotypes.


Second generation Asian Americans are not being radical to be unappreciative and disrespectful towards their parent’s wishes. They are trying to create their own identities for themselves that in turn benefits other Asian Americans. This individuality works as an antidote as it begins to break down the stereotypes that have limited Asian Americans from forming an identity that is purely Asian, and not Asian American. With this new identity that future generations of Asians can thrive and be noticed as their own entity.  


My name is Ricelia May. I am a 4th year senior. I have have already “graduated/walked” this past Spring quarter, but am back to fulfill my last remaining units. I am a Sociology major and Asian American Studies minor. However, I want to get a job related to finance/accounting. Going to grad school to get my MBA is also in my future plans. Mid August I plan to travel for three months to different parts of Asia, which I am really looking forward to. My favorite example of Asian Am pop culture is the evolution, introduction, expansion, and acknowledgement of well-known Asian rappers, hip hop artists, and pop singers.  Some of the Asian artists who have enhanced our listening pleasures include the Black Eyed Peas Apl.de.ap., Far East movement, Charice, and who can’t forget the guy who taught us all how to “Gundam Style,” Psy himself. 

My definition of “popular culture” is a form of music, media, and film that reaches out to a specific audience that is widely publicized. Pop culture adds to the notion of consumerism because its primary goal is to sell and create only what is in demand in the market. I believe that it is relevant because pop culture is constantly changing. Pop culture is important to study because it may be inclined to create and set false depictions of a certain group, particularly Asians. It is imperative for people to realize and understand possible stereotypes and forms of racism that are inflicted towards Asians through the use of popular culture.