Since World War II the Japanese auto industry has gone from essentially nothing to global dominance. Along the way they have developed a subtle and nuanced national character. What car best represents the traits and spirit of the land of the Rising Sun?

The Honda Civic has long generally embodied the essence of Japanese design and engineering, but there are definite high points in its lineage; for the most inspired representative we're going with the fourth-generation Si coupe. It is both quick and efficient, practical without being boring. It is simple but shows deep consideration of details. The trunked-coupe silhouette adds a touch of formality. It's the perfect expression of a mentality that mixes Zen Buddhism and Formula 1.

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Photo Credit: Honda