Page creation 23/02/2014, revision 01/03/2014
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Below: a "Yokkaichi pilgrimage", 17 April 1966. Dr Sugiyama's cars are the ID19, the Ami and the 2CV AZAM (in the
middle). Other cars are (from left to right): Maeda-san's 1954 2CV AZAM; Dr Sugiyama's nephew's 1961 2CV AZL,
Yamauchi-san's 1952 2CV A (CCJ News, Winter 2004). A similar photo was also published in "Double Chevron"
(Citroen's internal magazine), in its Winter 1966 issue (below right).
July 1963: Following
the end of the car
sales restrictions, Dr
Sugiyama bought an
Ami 6, while his
brother Yasushi, also
a doctor, chose a 2CV
AZL, both brand new.
The brothers took
Yasushi's 1962 ID19
to go and receive their
new cars, brought by
between Tokyo and
Yokkaichi, in the
Shizuoka area. (doc
left: Car Magazine,
Nov. 2008; below: T.
Right: 14 July 1969. The newly bought Ami 8, in the Hodogaya area
(CCJ News Spring 2005).
Below: July 19th, same year. Next to another Ami 8, also with its
temporary registration number, a Club member's 1966 DS, coming
from the Saitama prefecture near Tokyo, at a CCJ meeting in the
Mikawa area (CCJ News Spring 2005).
Above left: long-time CCJ Vice-President Nishimura-san and his 1969 DS20. An architect, he had spent 2 years in
France in the mid-50s. This is one of the 5 DS he eventually came to own (Car Graphic, July 1979).
Above right: Mizutani-san, an engineer and long-time member of the CCJ, and his first DS, a manual DS21, in April
1979. He later bought Dr Sugiyama's 1972 DS21. He owned a total of 18 Citroens, including 4 DS ! (doc. Hideyuki
Above: some of the CCJ members, during the meeting organized in Yokkaichi for the 30th anniversary of the DS, on
October 5th & 6th, 1985. From left to right and top to bottom: Club President Sugiyama-san and his 1972 DS21; Club
Vice-President Nishimura-san and his 1969 DS20; Morizono-san, from nearby Fukuyama pref., and his 1970 DS21;
Kato-san and the 1971 DS21 he'd been driving for 15 years; Nishikoka-san and his 1970 DS21; Mizutani-san's 1972
DS21, which formerly belonged to Dr Sugiyama; Sugahara-san and his 1971 DS21; Ikemori-san and his 1969 DS21
Pallas (Scramble Car Magazine, Jan 1986).
Below: a line-up of some of the club's members' DS, photographed at the Yokkaichi port during the
same event (Scramble Car Magazine, Jan 1986).
Above: 27 Nov 1962: in front of Dr Sugiyama's clinic,
which doubled as his home, in Yokkaichi, when
Nichifutsu's staff dropped by for the first time. On the left
is presumably Kanei-san, and 4th from left is Hiratomi
Junko, both working for Nichifutsu. Dr Sugiyama is 2nd
from left. On the far right is an Ami 6, also to be exhibited
at the show in Osaka. The "Yokkaichi pilgrimage"
tradition was born ! (doc. T. Sugiyama)
Below: later in the day, after driving along for a while in
his 2CV, Dr Sugiyama finally says good-bye, in the
Shono area, on the way to Osaka. The barred
registration plates indicate temporary numbers (CCJ
News, Summer 2004).
Above: the AZAM joined the Sugiyama family on
November, 1963. Photo taken in June 1964 (doc. T.
Left: a nice shot, taken right in front of the clinic, for a car
magazine. The title on the top left says "the talk of the
Below: in front of the clinic. The Ami was used by
Madame. The white ID19 was added to the collection in
29 Jan 1962: Dr Sugiyama takes a short break at Hakone,
on the way back from Nichifutsu's garage in Shimo-ochiai
(Mejiro, Tokyo), where he bought his first Citroen: a 1952
model-year 2CV A, formerly used as a taxi (doc. T.
27 Nov 1962: on the way to the 3rd Foreign Car Show,
held in Osaka, where they were to exhibit this blue ID19,
Nichifutsu Jidosha's sales reps drop by Dr Sugiyama's
home in Yokkaichi (doc. T. Sugiyama).
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
So, what's so special Yokkaichi ? Well,
that's where Mitsuru Sugiyama, a
gynaecologist, had his home and clinic.
His first encounter with Citroen took place
in 1960, at the 2nd Foreign Car Show, held
in Tokyo, where an ID19 was exhibited. He
was struck. From then on, Citroen was to
become a lifetime passion. But car sales
were restricted in those days, so he had to
wait two more years before he could pay a
visit to Nichifutsu Jidosha, Citroen's
importer in Tokyo, and buy himself a worn-
out,1952 model-year 2CV, previously used
as a taxi. He drove it all the way back home
by himself, just like he did with all his
subsequent cars, and in spite of countless
problems, he fell in love with the car.
Together with his elder brother Yasushi,
he eventually owned no less than ... 30
Citroens, from the earliest 2CV to the
latest C6, without forgetting the ID, DS,
Ami, Dyane, GS, CX, SM, BX and Xantia.
His whole life, he relentlessly spread the
word amongst family members, friends
and like-minded car fans, to whom he
would also sometimes sell his own cars.
In 1965 a Citroen Cub was formed, with
Sugiyama-sensei (Japanese for "Doctor")
later at the helm, and Yokkaichi, ideally
situated between Tokyo and Osaka,
naturally became a major gathering point
for the country's Citroen enthusiasts. Even
Nichifutsu's employees started to regularly
drop by; the "Yokkaichi pilgrimage"
("Yokkaichi mōde" in vernacular speak)
tradition was born !
The DS was Dr Sugiyama's preferred
model. "The epitome of Citroen", he used
to say, according to his son Tomohide,
who kindly provided precious photos and
information for this page. Himself a doctor,
Sugiyama Junior is also a talented
photographer, and he took beautiful photos
of his father's last DS: see them on this
In an interview (Car Graphic, June 1985),
Dr Sugiyama explains that as a
gynaecologist, he feels a very close
connection between the DS's inner design
and the human body: "In the mother's
womb there is a hydro-pneumatic fluid
called the amniotic liquid. The foetus floats
in what is essentially a hydro-pneumatic
system, that absorbs the shocks given to
the mother's body." He adds: "Sometimes
I am told, don't you feel like driving other
cars for a change ? But even if I wanted to,
I couldn't: a car can only be a Citroen".
The first Japanese Citroen club stricto
sensu was a 2CV Club, started in 1960: a
few dozens "ugly ducks" had made their
way into Japan in the mid-50s, and had
been mostly used as taxis.
The Citroen Club of Japan (CCJ), catering
for all Citroen models, was launched in
1965, with a certain Tomomura as its
President. After a few inactive years, Dr
Sugiyama relaunched the club's activities,
in 1984, helped in his task by Nishimura-
san, the Vice-President. Nishimura-san
had travelled extensively in Europe and
kept several French cars. The top job then
went to Morioka-san, followed, up to 2012,
by Fujimoto-san, also a doctor, who had
inherited his father's Traction, still to this
day one of the most beautiful in the
Dr Sugiyama was thus a central figure in
Japan's Citroen sub-culture for decades.
He had the opportunity to meet many
Citroen executives who came to Japan,
such as President Claude-Alain Sarre and
Exports Sales Manager Jacques Eyraud.
Above: a CCJ
(Citroen Club of
Japan) meeting in
home in Yokkaichi
Left: the cover of the
CCJ member list in
members, 14 of
them owners of a
DS (doc. Hideyuki
Dr Sugiyama passed away in
2008, after a lifetime of
devotion to the Citroen cause.
On the left, the maintenance
schedule board in his garage
(photo taken in 2013).
Many thanks to Tomohide
Sugiyama, Hideyuki Mizutani,
Kanoo Kataoka and Hideki
Honda for their support in
putting this page together.