japan car mirrors

Why are the mirrors on Japanese cars closer to the headlights than to the windshield?

Fendamira is a tribute to tradition.

On many Japanese cars of the age, such a familiar element as outside rear-view mirrors is located in a not quite traditional place. Instead of front doors, they are fixed far ahead on the fenders – much closer to the headlights and bumper than to the windshield. How is that? Legal?

It can’t be helped, it’s a tradition. If you remember, then a long time ago, in the middle of the last century, mirrors almost at the very bumper could be found on European, and American, and Soviet cars. They were believed to provide the driver with a more complete panoramic view of the rear.

Over time, however, mirrors began to migrate to the front doors, and only in Japan has the tradition been preserved longer than anywhere else. In the Land of the Rising Sun they even invented a proper name – fendamira, that is, a distorted English phrase “fender mirror” – “mirror on the wing.”

Fendamirs were mandatory equipment for all cars in the Japanese market up to 1983. But since then, the obligation has been canceled, and most Japanese brands have switched to a more familiar mirror shape. Not that they are so much more convenient, rather, it’s a matter of economy: one model of mirrors for all markets is corny cheaper to manufacture.


But the Fendamirs did not die. Many Japanese taxi drivers still prefer bumper mirrors. In addition to the best panoramic view, they do not go beyond the dimensions of the body by a millimeter, which is extremely important on the traffic-clogged streets of Japanese megacities.


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