The Roots of Monozukuri and Fine Tuning Opening Reception

$ 55.00

In celebration of the Japanese automotive industry and customization of cars that comes with it, the Petersen Automotive Museum is launching its two newest exhibitions, The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Auotmaking and Fine Tuning: Japanese/American Customs.

Prior to the public opening, the museum will open the door to the exhibit early and host a limited number of guests for a preview reception on Thursday, May 24, 2018. The event will include opening remarks, live music, food, and drinks throughout the night. 

THE ROOTS OF MONOZUKURI: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking

This exhibition seeks to be a comprehensive representation of the products of the Japanese automotive industry before 1970, and as such will be part one of a two-part exhibit. By seeking to include vehicles that have never been shown in America before and therefore have not yet shaped contemporary American perceptions of Japanese auto making, we will explore how and why Japan’s automotive industry has come to dominate the roads, paying special attention to the interesting cultural interchange between the US and Japan that grew into the symbiotic relationship of these economies and cultures.

The selection of vehicles exemplify the creativity, innovation, craftsmanship, and continuous improvement central to Japanese manufacturing monozukuri - that provides the basis for the long-term success of the Japanese automotive industry. Monozukuri is far more than just “making things,” although that is the direct translation; a more nuanced but simplified translation might be “the art, science, and craft of making things.”


Japanese custom cars can be categorized into several styles, from the classic tuner style to wild and elaborate customs. Many of these vehicles have never been examined in a museum setting, making their inclusion an opportunity to augment visitors’ perceptions of Japanese cars. This exhibit seeks not only to expose our publics to cars they may not see elsewhere, but to explain the ideological and stylistic conversation between Los Angeles and Japanese car customizers.

Fine Tuning: Japanese/American Customs will run concurrently with The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking, which will be on display in the Bruce Meyer Gallery, adjacent to the Customization Gallery. It is intended to bridge visitor interest between Japanese manufacturing and the prominent interest in customization of Japanese cars in Los Angeles. The roots of car customizing in Japan can be traced to the 1950s and 1960s when motorcycle street gangs (commonly referred to as “bōsōzoku”) customized their bikes to be louder and faster.