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Japan's Bosozoku Motorcycle Gang Rev it Up

Friday, November 6, 2009
Motorcycling spawns subcultures. Britain has its mods and rockers, America’s got its Hells Angels, and Japan’s got its Bosozoku Motorcycle Gang. Moto-punks infused with Imperial Japanese flair, the Bosozoku style is popularized in anime and manga. The word literally translates to ‘violent running tribes.’ The Kamikaze uniform clad bikers spawned a Japanese subculture back in the ‘50.

As you can see by this video, Bosozoku love to rev their engines. They often remove mufflers to make the sound even more abrasive. And as you can tell by the flamboyant styling of their bikes, they like to be seen as well as heard. Who came up with the idea for those crazy front fairings? They take the super-fly ‘70s American chopper vibe to new heights with their funky fairings, flashy paint, obnoxious pipes, and the craziest banana seats around.

Style is everything for the Boszoku, so their garb is symbolic. It usually includes wearing a jumpsuit like those worn by manual laborers, a tokko-fuku (special attack uniform), which is a military-issue overcoat with kanji slogans and club logos. They often wear their jackets open to expose their bandaged torsos, a look inspired by Japanese World War II fighter pilots. Some wear surgical masks to protect their identity. Many sport pompadour hairstyles or punch perms.

The Bosozoku enjoy riling up cagers by running red lights and speeding through city streets playing a deadly game of cat-and-mouse where the lead bike, driven by the sentosha, is not allowed to be overtaken by the chasers. On the opposite end, they also are known to ride through suburbs at 5-10 mph revving their engines, clogging up traffic while waving imperial Japanese flags.

Found the video intriguing enough to look all this info up. Can’t decide whether it’s a cacophony or symphony of sound. Meet the Bosozoku, Japan’s ‘ Rebels Without a Cause.’

Post Tags: Japanese subculture, Bosozoku Motorcycle Gang, running tribes, Bosozoku
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Tom -Rev-it-up November 8, 2009 05:58 PM
Seems like the Harley Riders at a stop light...
Rendell -I HAVE WITNESSED THESE RIDERS November 8, 2009 07:01 AM
I've been to Japan 3 times courtesy of the Marine Corps. I've seen these Bosozoku motorcyclist many times. It's entertaining to watch the police chasing them without success. When these riders get away from the police they actually do u-turns to continue being chased by the police, all while doing stunts at the same time. Sometimes the rider on the back is brandishing a samurai sword. It's a different game overthere and unless you can adapt you better get ready for road rash and a smashed motorcycle. In such a polite and orderly society as Japan, yeah the Bosozoku are hooligans for sure. I understand the criminal behavior, I just don't understand the styling of the motorcycles.
Tramp -Re Jap Bikers ER Babies November 7, 2009 04:03 PM
Demo -one word November 7, 2009 10:01 AM
one word told me enough about you and your site. The word "Gang" and your use of it.
Ninja -They are running 400cc November 7, 2009 03:34 AM
Hello from Tokyo. Dont get too excited. Since they do not have their "oogata" license, i.e. the license to ride bikes over 400cc, they are all running 400cc bikes. Rebel yes, without a cause maybe, but we are in Japan so they do follow the rules on licenses. They are also well known to the man in blue, which means their chance of ever getting the oogata license is close to nil. 400cc for ever. A good reason to rebel (I guess)
The REV-HAPPY PARTY IS HERE -you kidding me? November 6, 2009 04:10 PM
think he needs to rev it more time just to be sure...