Some of the most special, memorable events are the ones that don't happen very often. In fact, some of the best occasions only happen once a year: birthdays, holidays, the McRib – you know, special things. For car culture in Southern California, August is another really exceptional time of year because that is when we can expect Nisei Import Showoff in downtown Los Angeles.
Here's a brief history lesson for the kids: Import Showoff is literally the OG car show. It was the first, well, "import" car show ever when its creator, Ken Miyoshi, launched it back in 1994. Just about every car show you can think of today – be it Autocon, Spocom, Offset Kings, or WekFest – all borrow from what Import Showoff has been doing for the last 22 years. While Showoff doesn't do a series of events anymore, it’s become all the more exceptional because there is just the one show now (and actually, it’s worth noting Showoff has indeed expanded, though not in Cali or even North America; they’ve co-headlined an event in Guam for the last few years – Ed.)
The Nisei Import Showoff as it was originally called takes place at the end of Nisei Week, a huge event celebrating the "Nisei Generation," which is the first generation of Japanese people born in America. Both Nisei Week and Nisei Import Showoff happen at the center of Japanese culture in Los Angeles, the Little Tokyo District. A few years ago Ken teamed up with Stancenation, the biggest "stance" account on Instagram and "Stancenation x Showoff: Nisei Edition" was born. Stancenation did its part to introduce a whole new generation to what Import Showoff is about while adding some new flavor. At the same time Ken makes sure the event maintains the same vibe it’s always had: a cool atmosphere with great music and quality cars. As a bonus, Ken also makes sure to keep ticket prices low so that it’s easy for families to come out and enjoy the show. As a result of Ken and Stancenation's devotion to keeping the quality of the show high, it keeps growing every year. This year it took up an entire four-level parking garage!
The show's growth is a testament to Ken Miyoshi's effort to maintain the roots of the culture while still being open to new elements so that future generations will always have an idea as to how things should be. Thanks to Ken and Stancenation for keeping the show going!