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Know your JDM Marks

    I'm pretty sure most of us know and have seen the JDM fanboys driving around with the yellow and green chevron. And most of us probably know what it means. Regardless, here is a full explanation of the Japanese driving decals.

    First up is the one we all know:

    New Driver's Mark - Shoshinsha Mark, Wakaba Sticker, First Year Driver's Mark

    This is a legally required mark on all driver's within their first year of driving. There must be one above bumper level on both front and rear of the vehicle. After that year, it is optional. The idea is so that everyone knows you're a noob at driving and they should be careful and excuse any bad driving on your part. The green/yellow markings are in reference to spring type colors and the shape is designed after a growing leaf.

    Elderly Driver's Mark - Ochiba Mark, Koreisha Mark, Momiji Mark

    The first of the two images is the old Koreisha mark. It is a required mark for elderly over 70 (law enacted in 2008). The orange and yellow colors are to designate autumn/fall. Momiji is also the designation of the Japanese Maple tree. The original tear drop shape was (unofficially) designed to look like this leaf in withered form.

    As a result of the "tear" shape, many elderly found the mark offensive. As of February of 2011, the second image above became the new standard Koreisha. The new shape is supposed to be a 4 leafed clover with a white "S" in the middle for "seniors".

    Handicap Mark - Sintai Mark

    This one is a much lesser known and from my knowledge, not legally required. It's simply a mark denoting a physically/mentally handicapped driver. I wish someone would put this on their car here in the states.

    Hard of Hearing Mark - Tyoukaku Mark

    I guess Japan figured anyone with hearing problems needed their own mark. It is specifically designed for deaf drivers but I think legally deaf or hard of hearing can get these too. Allegedly, this makes it illegal for anyone to pass aggressively or cut off any driver with this mark.