Taking a look at some of the Japanese 4wd clubs of the late 1990s, we start with two of the biggest: the Delica Owner's Club (DOC) and the Japan Pajero Owner's Club (JPOC).
While their names are similar, we can't find any record that they were actually part of a larger network of clubs in this era. All information we've been able to find was accurate as of the late 90s, and has likely changed quite a bit since then. Truth be told, we're not even sure if either is still around.
However, if you flip through magazines like those in our Selected Publications section and look at owner cars, you'll likely see stickers for one of these clubs adorning the rear window.
The Delica Owner's Club was founded in May of 1991, 5 years after the third generation Mitsubishi Delica Star Wagon was brought to market. Their mission statement was in line with what many overlanding clubs today tout: "Taking advantage of a one-make (in this case the Delica) club, we go car-camping as a family including driving down forest roads that make use of the wagon's sturdy 4WD."
Like most clubs in pre-internet eras. Intentional friendships and knowledge sharing was critical. They go on to say, "We enhance driving skills and outdoor knowledge to deepen fellowship and friendship among members."
As of 1998, they had over 1400 individual members of the Delica Owner's Club. It got so large that the DOC actually spawned many other smaller Delica Clubs around Japan including the Japan Delica Family (which we'll cover in another article). Factions of the DOC included Hokkaido in the north, North Kanto, Kansai, Kyushu, and even a China group.
Because of their prevalence, it was easy to uncover a few photos of member cars:
The Japan Pajero Owner's Club was founded in May of 1985, 3 years after the first generation Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero was offered in Japan. Considerably smaller, it still included a pretty remarkable 65 people. Oddly, they touted their male to female ratio as 7:3 (editors note: This actually seems pretty common of this era of club. Unsure of the exact reason why).
With its smaller size, we haven't yet uncovered any JPOC member cars to share. But if you have one, send it in!