Home of the original Mysterious Car Stickers
Back in 2006, the 3Yen uncovered a mystery: What is this mysterious Japanese car sticker?
Could this official “Blue Shamrock” car sticker mean that the Japanese driver is handicapped by too much Irish whiskey? 1
Well, I just went in to renew my Japanese drivers license and an even more mysterious official car sticker confounded me during my license renewal lecture.
Does this sticker mean the driver has butterflies in their brain? 2
Japan has even more official “marks” such as the scary teardrop of orange and yellow, which is called the Ochiba mark (fallen leaf mark) warning of autos full of autumn leaves. 3
The best known of all these marks is the green and yellow chevron, the so-called Wakaba mark (green leaf mark) that warns of budding leaves and the pollen season. 4
Ok, ok, here’s the Rest-of-the-story…
1 Japan adopted the shamrock symbol to designate handicapped drivers even though the international symbol of a wheelchair is recognized everywhere else in the world.
The weird butterfly mark is Japan’s “hard of hearing” symbol. Hard of hearing drivers must display these stickers, which forbids other drivers from cutting off or aggressively passing such cars. This butterfly-mark is an obscure, only-in-Japan symbol and other parts of the world use this easy-to-understand ear mark.
3 Officially called the Koreisha mark (kōrei untensha hyōshiki), the fallen leaf mark must be displayed by drivers over 75 (and strongly recommended for those over 70) to warn other drivers of the impending danger.
On February 1, 2011, the “Autumn leaf” (Koreisha ) symbol to indicate “aged person at the wheel” was changed to the new, 4-leafed form (Wikipedia).
New Koreisha mark
Back in 2009 (The Mainichi / 2009 July 23) that Japanese Police Agency announced that it wanted to come up with a new design to replace the “autumn leaf” symbol which designates an elderly driver. A survey has indicated that only around half of people questioned had an idea of what it meant.
4Officially called the Shoshinsha mark (shoshin untensha hyōshiki), new drivers must display the green leaf mark for one year after getting their license to warn other drivers that the driver is not very skilled.