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A~BO~Moon! - JDM Drift Team Exclusive

Two brothers who shared a vision of combining stance and drift

Steve Enomoto
Aug 19, 2014
Photographer: Colin Waki

What the hell is A~Bo~Moon? It's pretty typical to see many Japanese drift teams plastered with a ridiculous squad name, bask in their 15 minutes of fame on the track and then disappear into thin air. But for Team A~Bo~Moon, they present themselves in a way that tells us they'll be around in the JDM drifting scene for years to come. With their hardcore style and countless drifting awards, these boys have one thing that other lackluster drift teams lack—consistency!

A bo moon r32 skyline sedans 02 Photo 2/35   |   A~BO~Moon! - JDM Drift Team Exclusive

Before getting into the JDM name A~Bo~Moon, here's a little bit of history about the team. Remember those online videos of adolescent Japanese kids drifting their bicycles; sliding their rear tires and skillfully mimicking cars? A~Bo~Moon actually started off drifting bicycles! These junior high kids made up a large portion of the young drifting scene. They would religiously attend drift events as well as sneak out at night to go watch local drifters do their thing on mountain roads. Without the ability to drive a car, they studied the art of drifting by pure observation. They absorbed drifting any way they could. And when they turned 18, the bicycles were ditched and they finally got their driver licenses. It was game on! Brothers, Akinori (younger) and Tomonori (older) Satsukawa, could finally unleash their pent up passion for drifting and put together their own team. A new generation of skilled drifters was born.

The name A~Bo~Moon is a derivative of Akinori's nickname A~Bo, and the rest was just combined with Sailor Moon's "Moon" aspect. To us, it hardly makes any sense but we must consider that many Japanese corporation names are made up in this kind of fashion.

The JDM drift team quickly grew in their Hiroshima neighborhood, but in order to join the club, several boundaries had to be set to maintain their public image. One very important criterion was that everyone on the team is required to drive a blue R32 Skyline sedan. A perfect theme since R32 Skyline sedans were a great platform for drifting with plenty of power and aftermarket support. Currently, there are between 10 and 15 team members, each with their own styled version of the four-door Skyline.

A bo moon nissan skyline sedan 06 Photo 6/35   |   A~BO~Moon! - JDM Drift Team Exclusive

Most of the A~Bo~Moon members came to battle with variants of Nissan's inline six RB engine, whether RB20, RB25 or RB26 under their bonnets. By having this sort of consistency in chassis and engine, it became a strategic advantage when it came down to competing. They never ran out of parts or were forced to forfeit due to a breakdown since any component can simply be borrowed from each other's JDM rides.

Another team prerequisite is that the vehicle must be set at a specific ride height and wheel stance. All team members must use 215-series tires with 17-inch rims for the front and must have pulled metal fenders (FRP is banned in competitions due to its fragile nature).

A bo moon tan tan R32 skyline sedan 10 Photo 7/35   |  
One of the more recognizable of the crew, teammate Tan-Tan’s R32 Skyline.

The list keeps going, as each R32 has to be equipped with a full body kit and non-factory side mirrors. Moreover, each car is limited to one zip tie per fender and other body components are restricted, such as the method of securing side skirts. This ruling was determined after seeing countless body pieces destroyed resulting from too many zip ties; body panels would cling on to the car and eventually get captain-crunched underneath. With use of a single tie wrap, the odds of the bumper disengaging from the car during mid-drift and safely sliding off-course in one piece is increased.

A bo moon satsukawa san R32 skyline sedan 11 Photo 8/35   |  
While each car is blue, Satsukawa-san’s sports some sparkle to make it a little different from the others.

Besides the cars being consistent in their stance, body work and trademark blue paint, each person has the option to add metallic sparkles or their own flavor to the color as long as the base paint is used.

With the team's success and global recognition, Akinori and his brother Tomonori have become true pioneers and advocates of stance combined with drift. For years, there has been much debate about stanced vehicles not being able to perform properly, but A~Bo~Moon was able to disprove that notion to the whole world.

Web Exclusive Photos

A bo moon rear window 16 Photo 18/35   |   A Bo Moon Rear Window 16
A bo moon R32 skyline sedan 25 Photo 25/35   |   A Bo Moon R32 Skyline Sedan 25
A bo moon R32 skyline sedan 14 Photo 29/35   |   A Bo Moon R32 Skyline Sedan 14
By Steve Enomoto
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