“The City of Tokyo Was Our Circuit in 1983” ~ MY ROAD Tokyo Circuit ~ RE Amemiya / Isami Amemiya Edit~【Play Back The OPTION】
Published : 2019/09/17 15:48 Modified : 2019/09/18 16:54
“If there’s a corner, my instinct is to attack!” – Isami Amemiya (age 37)
Reliving the RE Amemiya Legend
While times are changing and street racers continue to decline in numbers, there is a man who remains on the road.
His pureness and love for the tuned rotary indeed makes him a living legend of the tuning world. This article, “MY ROAD Tokyo Circuit,” from the OPTION Magazine June 1983 Issue captures the realistic image of this street racing man.
Join us as we will look back on the story of Yumi Amemiya, the man with an eternal soul of a racer, who continued his run on the streets.
Racing is a Man’s Fantasy!
What’s so wrong about racing on public roads? Recently, law enforcement has been focused on street racers because the circuit zoku of the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway and Osaka Kanjo were caught. But life is precious. Even with street racing, you step on the gas pedal under your own responsibility and control. We only run in the wee hours of the morning when traffic is low, of course. And this is how we learn more about cars. An epitome of youth that everyone experiences… My Road, City Circuit!
Amemiya was born in Yamagata prefecture. After graduating middle school, he moved to Tokyo for work in the sheet metal industry. Amemiya became fascinated by the speed of tuning cars and races on the streets.
He is well known as a rotary street tuner, but as his participation in the 1982 WEC (World Endurance Race) shows, Amemiya’s spirit shines in the streets. Because of his friendliness and humanity, he is a guru-like presence for the youth.
Gassed It Until I Was on Fumes! From Kameido to the Daisan Keihin Road, the Tomei Round Trip Course — Isami Amemiya
So, I was a bosozoku before. We ran in groups of 20-30 cars, but we never ignored traffic lights. We just full throttled our usual routes.
I worked for a sheet metal company, so Saturday was our day out. We started from Kameido, through Kinshicho, Toyocho, then headed out to Ginza. It was always crowded around midnight. But we were pretty good at dodging, so we went full throttle! We went out on Aoyama Street and took a breather next to Aogaku (Aoyama Gakuin University). And then around Sangenjaya on the 246 (National Route 246), the brakes usually started vapor locking by this point. That’s how much we full throttled with full brakes to each light. I had Mazda Savanna GTs and Celicas. Fully tuned, obvi.
Headed out on the Kanpachi (Tokyo Metropolitan Road Route 311), jumped on either the Daisan Keihin or the Tomei. I chose the course depending on my mood that day. When I got on the Daisan and reached the toll gate, there were always guys waiting to race. My Savanna was good on the streets, but the highway was a race of power, so I’ve lost against a Porsche before.
After a Daisan round trip I came back on the Kanpachi, then jumped back on the Metropolitan Expressway from Yoga. There wasn’t a lot of traffic back then, so I hit those corners real hard. It was the best road for practicing. And by that point, I was usually running on fumes. I mean I got home around 4 AM. Back then, on the Metropolitan Expressway, there were traditional racing groups that preached things like “Let’s compete in the capital, not in the city.”
I frequently broke through kenmon–entered an alley or just cut them off. But, even though we were bosozoku, we never started fights or caused any messes… we just raced.
On weekdays, we liked to head out to Ginza. Hit on some chicks on Namiki Street. Yep, good fun.
Zeroyon (quarter mile drag race)? I always did them at the light, but the official ones started from Ariake. Our numbers were low, but we had fast cars. When the real bosozoku started showing up, we stopped doing them.
And then we moved on to race on the Tomei, but now we can’t run it anymore. I guess we have to look for another route. Apparently you can do a full loop on the Keiyo Road and Metropolitan Expressway/Wangan Line now, so that’s interesting. Shouldn’t be too many cars, right?
I feel bad for the young generation nowadays. They can’t race. But I think it’s fine to race, as long as you take care not to hurt anyone. If you get caught for speeding, well, that’s all you. If you don’t race, your driving doesn’t really improve either.
The legendary street racer, Isami Amemiya… Ame-san (aka Mr. Amemiya) may look like an eccentric, but in reality, he’s shy and sometimes mischievous.
This special feature of “MY ROAD Tokyo Circuit”also highlights OPTION Group President, Dai (Daijiro Inada), who we will introduce at another time.
[From OPTION 1983 June Issue]