Which Akitas should represent Akita on cars in Japan?

For a long time, license plates for cars in Japan were as plain as could be. Privately owned full-size vehicles nationwide all had the identical format of a solid white background, dark green text and numbers, and nothing else, as seen above.

Recent years have brought a loosening of the rules, though, and prefectures can now issue more colorful and creative plates as well. Akita Prefecture is in the planning stages to start offering new optional plates next year, and they’ve revealed four finalist designs. Narrowing things down any more than that, though, is going to be tough, because each and every one of the remaining candidates is adorable.

See, the designers have decided that the best way to visually represent Akita is with pictures of Akitas, as in the Akita Inu breed of dogs. Design A, for example, has an Akita and its puppy walking across the plate, plus pawprints on the upper-right quadrant. An especially cute touch is how the pup is positioned to be peeking out from underneath the dash in the middle of the four-digit number.

Design B has two grown-up Akitas standing proud as snow falls, referencing the beautiful winter scenery of one of Japan’s most northern prefectures.

You could interpret Design C as a non-verbal declaration that Akita’s children are its future. Or it could just be that the reason for the double-dose of puppies is because their floppier ears make them look extra heartwarmingly huggable.

And last, Design D features an Akita that’s more than ready for its close-up.

The font and text color are the same for all four designs, with the kanji for Akita (秋田) at the top functioning both as a designation for where the vehicle is registered and as an indicator for the breed of dog depicted. Incidentally, if you’re a Japanophile who’s not ordinarily much of a dog person but still find Akitas unusually familiar-looking, it might be because Hachiko, the famously loyal dog memorialized in a statue outside Tokyo’s Shibuya Station, was an Akita Inu and was born in the prefecture as well.

Unfortunately, though all of the plate designs are cute, Akita has to pick just one. That’s a decision that’s too tough for the prefecture to make on its own, though, and so it’s holding an online survey here, asking Akita residents which is their favorite, and will take the results into consideration, with the new plate design going into use in October of next year.

Source: Akita Prefecture via MSN Japan via Hachima Kiko
Top image ©SoraNews24
Insert images: Akita Prefecture
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