Nintendo Wins. MariCar Has to Pay 50 Million Yen. Is MariCar Over?

  • Tokyo
  • The battle has come to a sad and bitter end for Mari Mobility Development Inc., which will have to pay 50 million yen in damages to Nintendo. The end of this saga serves as a reminder of the consequences of marketing a business using the intellectual property of another company, particularly one as protective of their beloved characters as Nintendo.

    However, after Nintendo won a lawsuit against MariCar, which allowed people to drive around the streets of Tokyo wearing costumes as if they were characters from Nintendo’s popular video game Mario Kart, what exactly happened to MariCar?

    Due to the ruling, some worried that MariCar would cease to exist, but the company found a way to survive while completely disassociating itself from Nintendo and the problems of copyright infringements.

    Ergo, MariCar is no more. The new company is now simply called Street Kart. It might not be the most original or groundbreaking name, but it serves its purpose. Street Kart’s website also contains news and notices to let people know that they have no association with Nintendo and Mario Kart. Therefore, people can rent costumes through Street Kart, but none of them will feature Nintendo characters.

    Despite the changes, Street Kart continues to be incredibly popular among tourists, proving that its initial association to the popular Nintendo characters was the company’s biggest drag and what was allowing it to be successful.

    What is Street Kart?

    Street Kart is a service that allows you to experience a go-kart tour through Tokyo. The benefit of Street Kart is that it gives you a different perspective of the city as you race through the avenues riding your go-karts.

    If you plan on trying it, here are some points you should know:

    Driver’s License

    In order to drive a go-kart, a driver’s license is required. Therefore, you must have either a Japanese driver’s license, or an international driver’s license issued by a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Convention. Those who reside in Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Estonia, or Monaco can bring their driver’s license with a Japanese translation provided by an authorized organization. People serving in the United States Forces Japan can bring their SOFA driver’s license.

    If you don’t have a Japanese driver’s license or a SOFA driver’s license, don’t forget to bring your passport with you.

    As the international license can only be used by short-term residents, be aware of the fact that foreigners already living here can’t use it.

    You can also find some useful information about Japanese driver’s licenses and how to obtain them in the following links:

    Obtaining a Japanese driving license or How Hard is it to get a Driver’s License in Japan?

    Safety: Helmets and Seat Belts

    Since the vehicle size is smaller than the vehicle safety standards mentioned in the Road Transport Act, it’s considered to be a vehicle similar to a quadracycle, and helmets are not required, and the vehicles don’t have to be equipped with seat belts. However, due to successive problems and accidents, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism took the decision to strengthen the regulations. Starting 2020, seat belts and helmets will be mandatory.

    *Featured Image by Mike Lawrence (themrlawrence) on Instagram