Japan
Page creation 20/09/2010
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Above: "Watanabe Jidosha Shokai"
("shokai" standing for "trading") is listed
as one of Nichifutsu's sub-agents for the
Nagoya area, together with others for
Kansai (the Osaka area), Hiroshima and
Sendai, on this advertisement for the
Citroen range under the slogan "Some of
the best cars in the world, born from
front-wheel drive and from rationalism !"
(Jikayosha - The owner driver, March
1966).


Left: a view of the garage's entrance. The
beautiful black DS belongs to
Ikemori-san, who kindly took me to
Watanabe Jidosha one rainy day of
June, 2008.
This car is shown in detail
on another page,
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...

The company initially dealt with motorbikes, when it was
created in 1934 by Yoichi Watanabe; his nephew
Takeshi and his wife are still at the helm today. The
company then threw itself in the imported car business,
American cars first, and then Citroen when they were
approached by Hatsuya-san, head of Citroen's importer
in Japan, Nichifutsu Jidosha, who was looking for
distributors. That must have taken place around 1959.

Sales General Manager Kataoka-san, who has been
with the company since 25 years, regrets that no single
document remains from those early days, but he
estimates that around 50 DS must have been sold by
Watanabe Jidosha.
here
Above: no less than a superb 1967 or 1968 Prestige, under maintenance at Watanabe's. Kataoka-san says he
has about a dozen DS owners in his customer base.

Below: A 1959 Type H, brought to Watanabe Jidosha for restoration but already with its Japanese number plate;
and a Traction in very good condition, with a "single-number" plate, showing a very ancient registration in Japan.
Honda-san is another loyal customer
of Watanabe Jidosha, who sold him in
2007 this first-hand, pristine 1972
DS21, with an original mileage of
only... 27,800 km. Everything is
original, from the body paint (AC095)
to the engine and interior. Honda-san
is a connoisseur: on top of one of the
most complete Citroen miniature
collections in Japan, he also owns a
1963 Ami 6, a 1980 2CV, a 4-wheel
drive  Kangoo... He is a very active
member of the Citroen community in
Central Japan, and was the one to
start, with a few others, the "FBM"
(French Blue Meeting) yearly French
car event in Kurumayama.
http://www.watanabejidousha.co.jp/citroen/
Watanabe Jidosha is dealing today with "niche" and
high-end brands (in Japan, that is) such as Citroen,
Jaguar, Maserati, Land-Rover and Saab. A separate
show-room is dedicated specifically to Citroen (pic
below).
More about Watanabe Jidosha on their
website, here (Japanese):