There’s been a trend in the JDM car community with the use of the yellow and green arrow symbol: 🔰. The symbol used on the internet (especially on social media) has now become a synonymous with car culture, as well as a symbol of being a car enthusiast, but what exactly does this symbol mean?
This symbol (and now emoji) is called the Shoshinsha mark or Wakaba mark. New drivers in Japan are required to display this green and yellow v-shaped mark on their cars for a year after they obtain their driver’s license. The purpose of this sign is to caution others that they are a new driver. In fact, if a driver feels that they are still at a beginner level after the one year period, they may continue to display the newbie badge. There are even other symbols such as the Koreisha mark (for elderly drivers) and other marks such as ones for handicapped individuals. Essentially, any of these symbols are displayed in order to inform other drivers that they may want to be a little cautious and patient with the new driver.
Knowing the history of the Shoshinsha mark and its purpose which originated in Japan, you may cringe at the sight of these stickers placed on vehicles. You might get the same displeasure from seeing this very same emoji plastered all over a car enthusiast’s Instagram or Twitter page. It’s possible you might judge these folks because they’re displaying a symbol of something that they don’t know the history of. It’s kind of like people getting tattoos of Chinese characters unknowing of the meaning behind them.
However, it’s gotten to the point to which it’s pointless to fight this semantic change of the symbol, 🔰. It’s as if you know the true pronunciation of a particular word, yet everyone around you says it incorrectly. Similarly, it’s like a movie quote that is commonly mis-quoted. In both cases, you could try to correct everyone around you by correcting them at the risk of sounding like some pretentious douche, or you can just let it go.
Accept that it is now widely understood (outside of Japan) that this 🔰 relates to car culture more so than it does a new driver. It’s become so universal now, that it even appears on your emoji keyboard. Unfortunately, this only adds to the continual use of this symbol.
If you know the meaning behind the symbol and still want to use it to show that you’re a petrolhead, by all means go for it. The new meaning of this symbol has become so universal that the origin meaning has slowly faded away. Even knowing the meaning behind the Shoshinsha/Wakaba mark 🔰, I can’t help but think of the evolved meaning over the forgotten one.