No matter what part of the world you're in, if you're a Honda enthusiast, more often than not you're hunting, securing, or dreaming about parts from another part of the world. We've seen it for years here in the U.S. as people have gone completely crazy over performance, aesthetic, and OEM parts from Japan and Europe, often taking cues from the look and feel of builds overseas. The incessant complaints about a lack of availability and OEM offerings Stateside that often pale in comparison to those made available in the Land of the Rising Sun are never ending. What many seem to forget, however, is that Japanese enthusiasts are often left feeling that same frustration.
Years ago, HT did a story on Type K Autosource and many were surprised to see such a large USDM enthusiast market residing in Japan. Obsessive, detail-oriented, and constantly hunting for new, non-native parts, that movement has continued to swell throughout the years. Now it's often tough to decipher cars from either continent because the lines have blurred drastically and a solid mix of USDM and JDM parts are sprinkled over the majority of builds you see today.
Lowered 2 Perfection, a street crew in Japan, is all too familiar with the JDM/USDM connection. The group's beginning dates back to 2003, created by Mitsuhiko Miura, who had taken notice of L2P Guam and decided to build his own version in Japan. Regulars on social media, the team remains very tight knit, more like a family than just a collective group of Honda fanatics. Getting accepted into the group is traditionally based on a personal invite and not done often. Comprised of Hondas, they focus specifically on street style and their concept, "clean, simple, authentic and revolutionary," remains to this day.
In part 1 of 2, we bring you four members of Lowered 2 Perfection Japan - a group of grassroots enthusiasts who are literally just like you and me. Stay tuned for part 2 with the rest of their group spotlighted.
I met Takeru Tojo about five years ago via Facebook. We both had modified Honda Element daily drivers, but because the Element SC was never made available in Japan Takeru actually imported a left-hand-drive version from the U.S. At that time I was also building an eighth-gen Si sedan and sometime later, Takeru sold his Element and picked up a beautiful Mugen RR model.
We'd gone back and forth about wheel sizing and various mods and his RR, though lightly modded, continues to evolve.
It's a tough chassis to modify in that it already has so many attributes right from the factory - even more so than the standard Civic Type R, attributes that include Mugen cams, exhaust, a noticeably lighter curb weight, Mugen-specific aero pieces, interior bits, and more. Takeru's RR is his pride and joy, and as a husband and father his modifications are carefully planned out and executed. Next up on the list of upgrades is a new aftermarket front bumper, another new set of wheels, which he plans to debut next week at Wek'fest Japan, and he's holding steady while a new trunk lid is on its way.
Seiya Suzuki found the car addiction at a very early age; his father was involved in the automobile business, so it wasn't a surprise to find Seiya reading car magazines while his friends were watching cartoons. That feeling only increased when his father brought home a new DB8R (ITR sedan) as their family car. At just 14 years old, Seiya was pumped to ride shotgun with his dad, and even more excited when, just a few years later, he got his license and he was able to jump into the driver's seat.
That need for an "R" never let up, and when he got a job and could afford it, Seiya nabbed his own ITR, this one a coupe in Phoenix Yellow. However, an unfortunate accident cut the car's life short, but didn't kill the dream. Not long after the accident, Seiya was able to find another yellow ITR on the used market and he's built the beauty you see pictured. And though we don't have pics, his significant other picked up a yellow EK9 and they quickly became known in their neighborhood as the "Type R couple."
For the past eight years, Touma Kaga has been tinkering with his EF9. About a year and half ago a complete restoration was done to give his hatchback a new lease on life. Beyond the fresh paint and factory fresh moldings, you won't find any wild additions to the exterior. The clean and timeless look includes a pristine set of Mugen MF10L wheels, carbon fiber front lip, and Spoon brake calipers. Under the hood you'll find a tucked and shaved bay that's been cleared of any unnecessary bits, and powering the EF is a B16B swap with bolt-ons that include an OER ITB kit.
Mitsuhiko's sixth-gen Civic looks every bit like a U.S.-spec EM1, but in fact, this is a '96 EJ7 model. To get the look, the original EM1 Electron Blue Pearl was sprayed over the body after it was fitted with a few U.S.-spec body pieces along with a Mugen front lip. More Mugen can be found at all four corners, the front wheels covering Spoon Sports calipers.
Under the hood seems even more American with an H2B swap, though it's not the Prelude mill that you think it is. The 2.2L VTEC heart was plucked from a CL1 chassis Accord Euro R, fitted with JUN cams and various bolt-ons, and then mated to a B-series transmission via QSD's H2B adapter kit.
When Mitsuhiko isn't in his H2B EJ7, you can probably find him in his '94 EJ1, powered by a B16A and sporting classic Gab Sports rollers and a Spoon carbon fiber front lip.