THE LEGEND OF THE OSAKA ONEVIA: Atsushi Kuroi memorial gallery

February 4, 2010 1:56 am Published by

I heard a rumour the day before yesterday from a friend who lives down in Kansai that drifting pioneer Atsushi Kuroi had somehow died. I didn’t want to say anything on here just in case it wasn’t true.

Unfortunately, the news was confirmed yesterday on Kuroi’s Mixi (Japanese Facebook) by his wife. He had died from massive injury after a scooter accident.

Rather than just post a single pic with a few standard words of condolence below it, I thought I’d go back through my archives and post up the best Kuroi photos I had as a tribute.


The first time I saw Kuroi’s car live was back in 2004 at Ebisu Circuit D1GP.

The RB26 conversion was always an odd thing for a drift car, since not many people were able to find the balance in suspension settings needed to run such a heavy and powerful engine.

Here he is at Sugo in 2006. Smoke was always one of his strong points.

Even though smoke doesn’t count in judging, it didn’t stop him pouring out clouds of the stuff on every run.

He looked like a fairly intimidating driver in tsuiso runs as well.

I think one of the appeal points of his car was that it looked very street.

You could peel off all these stickers and it could have blended in with any number of street drift cars in Osaka.

Of course, not many of them had “RB26” peeking out from the bonnet vents.

The first person I ever saw do a proper “back entry” or “illusion” drift in a D1 competition was Kuroi. I remember shaking my head in disbelief after shooting this sequence.

To put it in perspective, this is what most of the other photos from that spot looked like.

I love how he angled the 180SX headlights to give the car an angry expression.

Anyone with the guts to attack the Fuji Speedway 300R at top speed has my respect.

The legacy of his yellow paint scheme lived on until the end.

Even after he switched from Nissan to Toyota power, the car somehow distinctively sounded like him.

I think it was the fact that the accelerator was always pinned flat.

Number one.

His aggression and surefootedness paid off in the 2007 Fuji D1GP round, where he overtook Masao Suenaga on the inside to win.

Watch a D1 video, and he’s rarely seen without a grin. You wouldn’t expect a guy who looks like a typical Japanese salaryman to be such a badass.

Every drifter dreams of standing on the top of the podium.

To be the winner.

Unfortunately though, you never know when you will have to step down.

And call it a day.

A real drifter will always just be looking for the most aggressive entry.

Pulling maximum angle.

Looking for the next corner.

Keep holding it.

Never lifting off.

Running forever.

Farewell Atsushi Kuroi. We will miss your clouds of smoke.

1969/3/30 – 2010/2/2

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This post was written by Alexi