The King Has Spoken!

When we approached Tsuchiya Keiichi-san for an interview at the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon we really didn’t know what he would say or even if he would agree to do one. This is a man who not only has an incredible pedigree, but is also known for changing the car community as a whole. To our surprise, he was very open and accepting to interviewing with us. As one can imagine, we truly felt like a deer in headlights, thunderstruck and at a loss for words as the excitement took over. Tsuchiya-san is very humble and down to Earth and was more than happy to answer questions from our supporters and fans. Without further fanfare, here is what he had to say.

TJ: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us today.

KT: My pleasure and I am glad it is today. There is no way this could have happened at the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon. You’ve been to the show; you know how crazy that place gets.

TJ: When we mentioned to our fans and supporters that you agreed to interview with us, they asked if you could field some of their questions.

KT: I am more than happy to answer TJ followers’ questions. Ask away!

TJ: How old were you when you first realized your driving technique? What influenced you to drive so hard? – Edgar Rosario, NY, USA –

KT: My inspiration was legendary Japanese driver Mr. Takahashi Kunimitsu, who drove for Nissan. I was really into watching him race when I was in Junior High School. I first realized my driving abilities at the age of 15. My first car was a KPCG110 Skyline and “the rest was history”.

TJ:If you could change anything from a career standpoint what would it be? –David Jasper–

KT: I don’t think I would change anything about my career. It has been amazing and rewarding. Being in the industry allows me to be a part of something greater than myself. I enjoy talking to fans and truly am blessed to be where I am in life.

TJ: What is your favorite car from the 90’s beside the NSX you owned and why?  –Andrew Strange, Scotland –

KT: There were so many wonderful and exciting cars produced in the 1990s like the Supra and Sylvia. But my favorite car is the NSX Type R.

TJ: If you could drift any American car. What would it be and why? – Rae – Charlestown, WV, USA –

KT: The newer Ford Mustang is a great platform. It has ample power, and it’s predictable and easy to handle. The only bad thing about the Mustang is the body composition. Vaughn Gitten Jr. is a great example of what a driver can do in a Mustang. He does amazing things with the platform. Let’s not forget he won the D1GP in a Mustang.

TJ: What are the biggest differences between Japanese cars and American cars?

KT: American cars are not bad at all. I think American design, technology and performance is the same as their Japanese counterparts. Cars like the Mustang and Corvette perform well and are somewhat forgiving. Dodge Vipers however are very peaky and hard to drive. Unless a person has a level of driving skill the Viper will “own you.”

TJ: What do you think about American drifting and events such as Formula D (Formula Drift) – Carlos Rivas, Washington DC, USA –

KT: The American drift scene has really changed a lot since 2003. I think that many drivers have done well and done a lot to help the scene. Most of who have used Formula D has their stepping stone to progress in the sport as we know it today. Formula D has done great since its conception and has help build not only the U.S. scene but the international one as well. I think Formula D and U.S. drivers like Vaughn Gitten Jr. and Tanner Foust have done a great job promoting the drift scene and bringing the car community in the U.S.A a bit closer together. However, I love Formula D and the judges got it right because they judge by angle, passion, etc. whereas D1 judging is based on the machine. That’s not only bad, but strange.

TJ: Shaquille Stubbs – Miami, FL, USA- How do you feel about the drifting styles today versus when you were coming up? – Shaquille Stubbs – Miami, FL, USA –

KT: I think the styles today show a lot more finesse and grace. Back in the day, drifting was mostly using the e-brake. Now it is clutch kicking and feinting only. Overall drifting techniques have changed and the level of driver is increasing.

TJ: In recent years car manufactures’ like AMG and BMW are using more and more computers in their cars. How do you think this will affect the sport the sport of drifting? Example: The usage drive-by wire? – Danny LaChapelle – NH, USA –

KT (laughs):: Just turn everything off and have fun driving. That’s what I do.

TJ: Is D1GP planning on coming back to the USA in the future and if so, when? –Podres Simon, Lexington Park, MD, USA –

KT: I am no longer a part of the D1GP and know nothing of their plans. I currently focus on King of Asia, King of Europe and Drift Muscle. But I think as the American scene grows you will see more promotions venturing to America.

TJ: The Drift Bible came out almost 20 years ago. Seeing how much drifting has evolved during that time, is there anything you would add or remove from the original video to help beginners? – Madeem Ahmad - Rockville, MD, USA

KT: The Drift Bible in based on simple car control techniques that are required when drifting. As the sport of drifting has progressed, techniques such as feinting and such became the standard, but one should never forget the basics and that is what the Drift Bible is good for.

TJ: What do you prefer on Touge (mountain passes), FF or AWD? - Chris Tsagaris -

KT: It doesn’t matter what I drive. I love all cars. Each platform has its good and bad points and serves an educational tool each time you’re behind the wheel. You always learn something new no matter what you’re driving.

TJ:What was it like driving in Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift?

KT: It was actually very hard. I had to intentionally mess up the drifts and that was quite difficult as a professional driver (chuckles).

TJ: What are your hobbies outside of drifting? – Justin Woo – Battlestags, VA, USA –

KT: I really don’t have hobbies outside of the racing world. If I am not involved in something car related, I enjoying spending time with my dogs.

TJ: You almost single handedly changed the car community around the world and gave generations now and those to come something to aspire to whether it be building a car or dreaming to be where you are in life. How does it feel to be so famous and well respected by millions around the world?

KT: I am really honored and thankful that people feel that way. But I will be the first to say, I am not famous. I just want a one world car community where everyone can enjoy the car life for what it is. If I can play a part in that and help keep the scene pure and thriving; that’s what I will do. I am simply a Car Guy who loves what he does. My dream is to see everyone around the world enjoying drifting. Who knows, maybe in 5 – 10 years there will be a world championship with drifters representing all corners of the globe at one event.

TJ: Drift Olympics!!

KT: YEAH!! (laughs)

KT: What no one really sees is just how severe Japanese fans can be. Generally Japanese fans want to see to the high-level runs and so that is why there are only best 16 runs. Whereas, people in the U.S. and in other countries like watching drivers gain skill and become better. They enjoy watching even the novice driver, but in Japan, they would boo at such a thing.

TJ: We love your Hot Version DVDs. Where can people get them?

KT:Thank you. People can purchase Hot Version DVDs on Amazon.com by visiting www.hot-version.jp/ or at your local Japanese book store.

TJ: Thank you for taking time to speak with us today. We apologize about the poor Japanese and being very nervous, but you’re the Drift King.

KT(laughs) : It is ok. Please drink your coffee.

Tuned Japan 2017-11-26