Research: Bosozoku subculture

A second youth subculture that caught my interest which also shares few similarities to greasers:

Bōsōzoku (translation: “Reckless tribe”) is a Japanese youth subculture associated with customised motorcycles.

Bosozoku’s roots date back to the post WWII years when a new societal problem group arised. Having lived under the war time rule and even an assumption of never returning home alive, such as the kamikaze pilots assigned for a mission that never came to be, some of the war veterans could not return to peaceful life without difficulties. The most extreme of these individuals started looking for new excitement by tuning cars and conducting less than desired, gang type activities on city streets. Inspiration and idols were found from foreign movies such as Rebel Without a Cause (1955). These ideologies later caught the motorcycle obsessed youth and bosozoku was born. Many members came from a lower socioeconomic class and have used the motorcycle gang activities as a way to express disaffection and dissatisfaction with Japanese mainstream society.

Although it wasn’t until the 1970s that the term was used, where riots between police and bikers broke out. The term bosozoku was eventually given by the media and despite the attempts by the media to outrage the public and push the National Police Agency, bosozoku participation continued to climb. During the 1980s, the “Golden age” of bosozoku, some members who became adults joined the yakuza. Bosozoku Are Japan's Disappearing Rebels Without A Cause

The word bōsōzoku is also applied to motorcycle subculture with an interest in motorcycle customizing, often illegal, and making noise by removing the mufflers on their vehicles so that more noise is produced. These bōsōzoku groups also engage in dangerous or reckless driving, such as weaving in traffic, not wearing motorcycle helmets, and running red lights. Another activity is speeding in city streets, not usually for street racing but more for thrills. With many bikes involved, the leading one is driven by the leader, who is responsible for the event and is not allowed to be overtaken. Japanese police call them Maru-Sō, and dispatch a police vehicle to trail any groups of bikes to prevent any possible incidents, which can include riding very slowly through suburbs at speeds of 5–10 mph, creating a loud disturbance and waving imperial Japanese flags, to starting fights which can include weapons such as wooden swords, metal pipes, baseball bats and Molotov cocktails. These bōsōzoku gangs are generally composed of people under the legal adult age, which in Japan is 20 years old.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s