Did you know that Japanese elderly drivers are required to display a sticker on their car? I was prompted to write about this when I noticed a mark on the bonnet of a Suzuki Carry I’d imported from Japan, indicating a previous owner had attached an elderly driver symbol.
It might be controversial for many, but older drivers in Japan do indeed have to display a sticker (usually actually a magnet) on their car to alert other road users to their age.
The terminology is a challenge! The symbol is often referred to as a koreisha mark. As far as I can tell the closest translation is ‘elderly driver mark’ but they are also commonly referred to as Japanese senior driver sticker or Japanese old driver symbol (as well as even less appropriate terms). I think our preferred terminology might be ‘Japanese older driver mark.’
If you’re aged 75 or above, you are legally obliged to display the koreisha mark.
If you’re between 70 and 74 years old it is also recommended, particularly if the driver feels their driving ability is or may be affected by physical impairments associated with age.
What is the koreisha mark?
In Japan the elderly driver mark is a reflective, magnetic badge or symbol, measuring approximately 15 cm or 6 inches and looking a little like a multicoloured 4 leaf clover.
They are to be displayed on the front and rear of the vehicle. The correct orientation is with the light green ‘leaf’ at the top and to the right.
This current ‘four leaf mark’ senior driver symbol was introduced in 2011 as a redesign of the original ‘momiji mark’ or ‘autumn leaves mark,’ which some drivers found offensive and refused to use, presumably given the reference to autumn leaves about to fall off the tree!
Want to buy your own Japanese elderly driver sticker?
You’re in luck! I have the genuine article for sale below!
Please note these are ‘proper’ reflective and magnetic older driver symbols imported from Japan, not self adhesive vinyl copies.
Finally, here is a video of me discussing the Japanese elderly driver mark: