Many DS in Japan, maybe even a few hundreds, and everything related: clubs,
networks, specialists... The DS has been imported to Japan from the beginning of
its career, and amateurs with taste continue to ship cars from Europe.
A DS23 Safari, as the estate version was named for export, parked in
front of a traditional wall. It has been restored by the garage Javel to its
original condition.
More pictures and the link to Javel
The Prestige of Mr. T, in a splendid condition. It even has the little
curtains for more privacy...
More info and another picture
You do not get to meet so often in your life a Japanese gentleman who
introduces himself, in perfect French, with the words "I am an SMist,
and my son is a DSist". Well, this is exactly what happened to me.
story and pictures
A brown DS, found by chance in a Tokyo street near Aoyama. More
Takemura-san called his Tokyo garage "Javel". He sells - did you
guess ? - Citroens, classic and modern. Including some DS, after a
full restoration to their original, perfect condition, so that his
demanding customers can use them in daily life.
The story, the link
and many pictures
Cinema & video
In the 2001 French action film titled "Wasabi", shot for the most part
in Tokyo and featuring Jean Reno and Ryoko Hirosue, actor Michel
Muller drives a local DS in several scenes. This must be presumed
to stress his "Frenchness"...
More pictures
About 3,500 French cars and 7,000 visitors... That gives you an idea
of the scale of the "French Blue Meeting", a yearly event organized by
and for amateurs of French cars, classic or not. And of course there
are several DS too. No less than fourteen of them when I last was
there, for the 20th edition, in October 2006 !
Many pictures
Page creation 20/05/2006, revision 21/03/2015
Himself a Citroen fan and a 2CV owner, Japan resident Guy de la
Rupelle could not believe what he saw, driving one sunny afternoon in
the Chiba area: a DS on the road, with French plate numbers. He
managed to stop the driver. S
tory and pictures
Suzuki-san dreamt of a DS since his high-school days. Now he's got
one, and a rare pre-1967 at that.
Many pictures
The very first Japanese DS. In August, 1958, in front of the Akasaka
Prince Hotel in Tokyo, the "Citroen bomb"  was unveiled in Japan for
the first time. Illustrations from France had already made some
appearances in auto magazines, but this time it was for real.
The full
story is
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The April 2006 edition of the French magazine "Vogue" featured a very
fashionable Japanese gentleman and his car. Not surprising, Saito-san
being the President of Hermes in Japan... and I have been told the
interior leather is also from Hermes. Yes.
More pictures
It had to be done one day: a DS / Lamborghini Countach comparative
test ! The magazine Tipo (March 2005) did it. Now, which one of these
exclusive cars do you think is the winner ? Suspense...
No other
choice but to look  
The DS before the DS. In December 1955, images of the new DS19
were shown in Japan for the first time. The public had to wait a few
more years to see the real thing, but in the meantime, the Citroen star
was to be featured and analyzed at length in auto magazines.
All the
original articles
Hayashi-san uses this rare US-export version of a 1971 DSpecial
almost every day.
Many more pictures
The first "road impression" report of a DS test drive made on Japan's
roads was published in August 1959 by Shotaro Kobayashi, still
considered today the father of Japan's motor journalism. Almost 50
years later, he still remembered how "impressed" he was.
Citroen's importer Nichifutsu Jidosha started an active promotion of
the DS in 1958. Not easy when very few people could afford, and were
even allowed, to purchase an imported car. Hatsuya-san, who was in
charge, remembers those heroic times.
His interview, together with
many rare documents, is
Books & Magazines
The earlier DS in Japan were "American", in two ways: first, they were
sold to foreigners, mostly personel of the American Army, and second,
they were of the US-export type.
From vintage car magazines, see the
photos of these "American" DS
Several brochures and catalogs have been made in Japanese, either
translated from standard ones coming from France, or original ones
specifically made by the importer for the Japanese market.
See these
rare documents
The "superlative object", as French writer Roland Barthes once put it,
was bound  to inspire artists in Japan. From ink painting to plaster,
origami to manga.... For a tour of the virtual museum, it's
The DS on the cover of Japanese magazines, in chronological order,
from 1958 to today.
See the collection  
The December 2005 issue of "Car Magazine" shows beautiful photos
of two black DS, shot one rainy evening in Tokyo. One of them belongs
to Akito Suzuki, a Citroen fan who also started to count the DS existing
in Japan.
Ikemori-san used his 1969 DS21 when he dated his fiancee. That was
more than 30 years ago. The DS, in perfect condition, is still cherished
by Mr and Mrs Ikemori.
The photo album is
Races & rallies
"That's me, here, getting out of the car !" explains Narata-san, totally
amazed to see for the first time these photographs, more than forty
years after the race. He was the navigator of the DS competing in the
9th edition of the famous Japan Alpen Rally, back in 1967, and told us
what it was like.
It's amazing, and it is
Sugiyama-san is a talented amateur photographer. Over the years he
took many stunning pictures of his father's car. Here are only a few of
them; a feast for the eyes.
They are
What could be the reactions of the first Japanese adventurous
motorists who purchased a DS19 or an ID19, when the liberalization
of car imports took place, gradually and partially, around 1962 ?
a few of these early owners
A very unique photo of an ID19 on the famous Suzuka racing circuit,
dated March 17th, 1963 (Motor Magazine, May 1963). The circuit was
brand new then, and an unofficial test run for private teams or pilots
was organized on that day. According to one source, this DS may
have be the one owned for tests by the car manufacturer Hino.
In the '60, interest for foreign cars was such that magazines would
sometimes feature special pictorial reports about the cars used by
foreign legations in Tokyo. Specific number plates help, albeit partially,
to identify these cars, amongst which a few DS can be found.
some of them
Nichifutsu Jidosha was a subsidiary of Nichifutsu Boeki, a trading firm
established locally by Frenchman Roger Péricat. It merged in 1959
with another local trading company, forming the "Companies of the
Denis Frères Group in Japan", and continued the Citroen
representation until 1969. Its former directors and staff kindly shared
a few documents and memories.
Watanabe Jidosha, in Nagoya, central Japan, has been a Citroen
agent since the early '60s. It is still one of the most renowned
specialists in the country for classic Citroens. Indeed, on the day I
visited, I could spot a few gems...
See them  
A beautiful DS in a beautiful video of the 1996 song "Pride" by
Japanese singer Miki Imai. Who happens to be beautiful, and to have
a beautiful voice.
All pics and the Youtube link to the song
The Toyota Automobile Museum boasts one of the finest car
collections in Japan, with about 450 vehicles in perfect condition. But
only 120 of them are shown in the permanent exhibition, and a DS
was rumoured to be hidden somewhere in a warehouse. I checked it
out in February, 2011. A DS there was, a beautiful 1958 DS19, one of
the six classic Citroens of this amazing collection.
All is
A surprising and brief appearance of a DS in a 1963 French heist
movie, "Riffi in Tokyo".
More detail
The MotorCar Museum of Japan, in Komatsu city in Ishikawa
prefecture, boasts the nation's largest collection. It includes a quite
complete Citroen range: Traction 11B, 2CV, Ami, GS, SM, and this
beautiful 1963 DS21.
See more here (mostly Japanese):  
The 1966 Japanese series "Space Giants" is about monsters from
outer space trying to invade the planet. In a key scene, aliens kidnap
the heroin in a car that looks like a spaceship. And you know what
spaceship-like car they chose for the scene ?
Screen shots, links and
In Japan every self-respecting DS amateur has heard about the only
cabriolet DS imported by the official agent, in 1968. It appeared in car
magazines a few times, but its owner has remained secretive ever
since, and nobody knew what had become of the car. That is, until
we finally found it.
See the whole story  
Oda-san, a Citroen dealer in Nagoya, saw the first and only cabriolet
DS brought to Japan by its importer in 1968, and kept thinking of
having his own ever since. In the '90s he finally decided to import one
from France.
See this beautifully maintained car, along with other
cabriolets recently imported to Japan,
The DS in Japanese books, from 1972 to today. See them
The region of Yokkaichi, near Nagoya in Central Japan, has long been
known as a Citroen stronghold. We even hear about a "Citroen
pilgrimage" having regularly taken place there...
Everything about the  
"Yokkaichi Connection"
The Citroen Club of Japan (CCJ) was started in 1965, and caters
about all Citroen models, old and new alike. They started a website
but it is not very complete yet, and the link even seems broken now,
try here (Japanese):

More about the Club's history on this page,  
This DS belonged to E.H. Eric (real name Taibi Okada), a "gaitare"
(foreign actor / TV emcee) very active in Japan in the '60s and '70s.
Born in France of a Japanese father and a Danish mother, he was a
member of the Citroen Club of Japan (photo taken around 1965, CCJ
News, Autumn 2005).
In 1969, Aoi-san in Higashiosaka stopped driving his ID19, which he
had bought six years earlier, due to high tax and other maintenance
costs. It is still there, in his garage. The kind of "first owner" car you
don't get to see everyday.
See it
Not one, but two DS in "8 Man - For all lonely nights", a 1992 live
action sequel of the famous "8 Man" cyborg superhero manga series
of the '60s, which is said to have later inspired "Robocop".
Screenshots and more  
A rare DS21 Prestige, in stunningly beautiful condition. See
The DS in Japanese TV commercials, from Shiseido to Sony.
Screenshots and Youtube links
Citroen importers in Japan prepared Japanese-language DS / ID
owners' manuals for their customers.
See them
There are magazines for every taste and hobby in Japan. A handful of
them even specialize in garages: how to design, build and enjoy life
with a nice space for your car, in your own home. The DS was bound
to find its way in some of these magazines.