Nintendo’s victory over MariCar finalized by Supreme Court of Japan

By SoraNews24

Judge Katsuyuki Kizawa of the Supreme Court of Japan on Dec 25 dismissed an appeal by Mari Mobility Development Inc, regarding the popular tourist attraction once known as MariCar. As a result, their three-year legal battle with Nintendo has ended in favor of the video game giant.

The cause of the lawsuit is probably obvious without even knowing the backstory, as the service which allows people to drive go-karts around the streets of Tokyo and Osaka is only a couple letters off the hit racing game series Mario Kart. Further exacerbating matters was that MariCar once allowed customers to wear Nintendo-themed costumes while driving for an experience similar to the game.

In 2017, Nintendo first filed against MariCar over fears that accidents that occur during the go-kart tours could damage the Mario Kart brand. In fact, since filing, a cyclist and building were both struck by karts in separate incidents.

By September of 2018, the Tokyo District Court ruled in favor of Nintendo and ordered MariCar to stopping renting out Nintendo-themed costumes and pay 10 million yen in compensation. However, they were allowed to keep the name and distanced themselves from the games by plastering their carts with “unrelated to Nintendo” in both English and Japanese.

Both companies were unsatisfied with the result and filed appeals, and in January of 2020, the Intellectual Property High Court also sided with Nintendo and upped their compensation to 50 million yen and ordered use of the name “MariCar” to stop.

The company, which had since rebranded itself as “Street Kart,” appealed, but by this time the damage had been done, and with COVID-19 rapidly shutting out the tourists that made up their core clientele, things were looking bleak.

A crowdfunding attempt was made this summer but likely because their “MariCar” brand awareness had vanished, it came up short.

Netizens in Japan, who largely saw this as an open-and-shut case from the start, were mostly surprised it was still going on, but overwhelmingly agreed with the verdicts.

“That’s just the way it goes.”

“This still hadn’t been settled?”

“Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any go-karts around Tokyo since corona. But now we have to deal with Uber Eats people.”

“Sorry, but I can’t find any sympathy for MariCar. Do business right or get crushed.”

“Even without the lawsuit, I don’t think it would survive COVID-19.”

“Finally, some good news!”

“They picked the wrong company to mess with.”

“Anyone who misses it can still check out the USJ ride.”

“Okay, now lets talk about how Mario is a rip-off of Mickey. Look at the pants and gloves and listen to how they both talk. Come on, people!!!”

There are a lot of similarities between Mario and Mickey. They both have five-letter names starting with “M” and their jawlines are both strikingly similar. Sure, he didn’t start out looking like that, but he certainly seems to be getting more Mickeyfied as the years pass.


Anyway, for the time being, Street Kart’s websites are still up, which means they may still try to tough it out and reclaim their past success. However, with the Nintendo matter finally settled, their future now appears to rest chiefly in the hands of a global pandemic.

Sources: NHK News Web, Hachima Kiko, Street Kart, Mari Mobility Inc

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Street Kart company famous for Super Mario karts ends crowdfunding campaign with dismal support

-- MariCar Mario Kart driver mounts pavement, causes serious damage in Tokyo accident

--Tokyo’s new “real-life Mario Karts” make it ridiculously clear they’re unrelated to Nintendo

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I'm really surprised they got away with it for as long as they did.. but I'm sure glad they!

I got to do this for the first time a few years ago, not as a millennial as some Karen here suggested, but as a 40 year old and I was respectful of others on the road and around me.

Funny how pretty much every negative comment here is from a non-Japanese person. Stay in your lane, and STFU.. I didn't get any negativity from Japanese people while I got to see parts of Tokyo that I otherwise may not have seen. In fact quite the opposite. Little kids sticking their kids out the window waving like crazy, people coming out and posing for photos.

The whole operation is owned by Japanese people who love their pop culture and want to give like minded people a unique experience that will stay with them forever.

Most Japanese people love when foreigners immerse themselves in Japanese culture and traditions, providing it's done respectfully and honestly. MarioKart IS Japanese culture!

Sure, there will be an occasional drongos that can't drive.. but bad drivers are everywhere. There were none on my adventure.

If you can't see the fun and appeal in dressing up and driving a gokart around one of the world's most interesting cities at night, then you are a joyless phuc. Thankfully your just a noisy minority.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Street-legal cars

How many reported accidents?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hopefully Tokyoites and drivers there no longer have to deal with these entitled, nasty foreign tourists who have zero respect for locals.

It's good to blame the gaijin for an entirely Japanese-made problem isn't it? The majority of their customers were Japanese. I know this because I dealt with them a lot through my work when they set up a branch out here. Their best customers were groups of 'entitled' university students.

So you should be railing against 'entitled, nasty Japanese tourists who purchase services through an entirely Japanese company and have zero respect for locals'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are a lot of similarities between Mario and Mickey. They both have five-letter names starting with “M” and...


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great news.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

While very happy of this ending, I don’t really wish for a change in law. Because new laws might make it difficult to introduce single or two-person small EV onto the roads which would be similar in size to go-carts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well done, Nintendo! Great news. Hopefully Tokyoites and drivers there no longer have to deal with these entitled, nasty foreign tourists who have zero respect for locals.

Also, time the gov't got serious on road safety and banned go karts on public roads.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Good riddance! I don't live in Tokyo but whenever I visited there in the past, I was surprised that those things were legal. Their clientele were obnoxious foreign millennials, without a clue of Japanese rules of the road, a disaster waiting to happen IMO.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I hope they never return. Got cut up by these idiots on sakai suji here in Osaka. Twat cut right in front on me, causing me to emergency brake. Got off my bike at the lights near the bridge and laid in , verbally of course though I would have had no hesitation to take it physical, with the idiot in charge. That loophole in the law allowing carts on the road should be closed before they return before the pandemolympics next year

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Good riddance

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sad story, they were a novel attraction.

I wonder where they are auctioning off the go carts, I wouldn’t mind one.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Never could understand this practice being allowed from the start.

How could tearing around Tokyo streets on ultra low karts, predominantly by visitors unfamiliar with the layout, conditions and rules of the city be deemed a safe venture?

And how could "borrowing" a company's corporate product and image and using it to drive one's own company profit, ever be seen as legal.

Always smacked of the illegal appropriation - read stealing - and production of copycat products which was / is common in places like China.

Good Riddance.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Finally the end of those obnoxious carts

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Good news, happy not to see and hear them buzzing dangerously around crowded streets.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Just rename and poor money into google ads and facebook under the keyword "maricart" or whatever... Tourists are going to google search for the company this should have been a no brainer rebrand.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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