Japan Reckless Speed Violent
Bosozoku means “reckless tribe”), is a term for young people in Japan who have an interest in modifying their motorbikes and are often illegal, for example by removing their exhaust mouth (but not infrequently ‘extending it’) to produce greater sound, driving without a helmet and running a red light. Not much different from the one here huh. Another activity they like to do is speeding on public streets, but not for racing, but rather for a sense of tension.
Bosozoku first began to emerge in the 1950s, when the car industry in Japan began to develop, they were known as the Kaminari Zoku or “Lightning Tribe”. Many members come from middle class families and come down because they feel there is a common reason for all of them, besides being dissatisfied with the government system, they are also looking for a social stratum. Many of the former Bosozoku members will later become part of the Yakuza after ‘graduating’ from the motorcycle gang.
The spirit of Bosozoku is inseparable especially when we talk about the Japanese Motor culture scene. Their influence is very large in the characteristics of Japanese modification known as eccentric, reckless, and freedom. This style of freedom and rebellion will affect car modification such as the kaido racers, stance or even the combination of reckless and modern styles. This can be seen in Rocket Bunny, Liberty Walk and Rauh-Welt Begriff.
This is indeed Japan’s strength. They absorb the culture outside, culture it with local culture and taste and dare to get out of the grip or the existing path. Plus of course with a strong pride, which was eccentrically finally accepted as a new style that is unique and cool.
The initial ideology or the first concept of Bosozoku emerged in the aftermath of World War 2, around the 1950s. The war left not only a material loss for Japan, but the social system also changed. Lots of people whose lives and thoughts were affected by this war. Japan’s nationalism and pride were devastated when the country declared defeat of the allies after the Hiroshima-Nagasaki atomic bomb.
Not a few soldiers and civilians who then cannot live in peace. They are confused, worried, traumatized and stressed. The effects of war are indeed very deep and for people who fail to move on it is certainly difficult to endure. Most of them then poured out the energy and hidden concerns through automotive and street gang associations.
An American film called “Rebel Without Cause” then pumped a large influence on this community. This 1955 film tells the culture of a greaser culture of young Americans who are wild and rebellious in the social system of society. Rebel Without Cause inspired Japanese young people who were mentally post-war victims to rebel and live freely. Almost all of them came from the lower classes in the Japanese social community.
This gang association gives them a new identity. A lifestyle that they are proud of. The rebellion that manifested itself from their dissatisfaction with the system, government and their position as the lower classes.
In addition, they also consider themselves as “Modern Samurai”. Embodiment of the samurai with strong Japanese values in modern times, where they think Japan loses Japanese soul and spirit. They feel they are protecting Japan’s local values. Acculturation between greaser or rockabilly culture with Japanese culture, we can see one of them from their appearance.
It was only about 15 years later or early 1970s that the name Bosozoku appeared. This name is not a self-created name. Bosozoku is the name that was coined by the media to call these rebel youths. When there was a clash or riots the first time between the young men and the police. This riot then became the next big news in various Japanese media. The people were shocked and shocked. This group of young men clashed and ‘war’ with the police. The name Bosozoku appears, which means violent speed gang, or a gang of fierce speeding.
As we know, Japan is a society that maintains strong rules and norms. The riots with the police and especially the young people are certainly very surprising. This news then made Bosozoku even stronger and bigger. Their number continued to grow until the peak reached 42,510 people.
The 80s became an era called the Bosozoku Golden Age. It was during this time that this motorcycle gang really spread and terrorized the streets of Japan. Not just motorbikes, the cars were present with them and performed convoy rituals at night.
Bosozoku adheres to the concepts of samurai and Japanese spirit. They consider themselves to be the successors and protectors of Japanese souls that were ‘lost’ after the defeat of World War II. This is one of them seen from their makeup and appearance.
The Japanese imperial flag which is very famous in the war era (rising sun flag) can be found decorating the appearance of this gang. Ranging from flags, helmets, motorbikes, clothes and more often there is a Japanese imperial flag.
The clothes of the Bosozoku are war uniforms (tokkofuku) made to resemble the kamikaze suicide pilot uniform. This uniform is also modified with Japanese kanji writings which contain slogans of Japanese spirit or slogans containing spirit and pride. Not infrequently this uniform is also striking in color whether it’s purple, yellow, or bright red.
New members will not be full hardcore with bosozoku style. Maybe shy or uncomfortable with the seniors, just entered already excited haha. But another reason, in the past making uniforms with various trinkets was not cheap. Not added to decorate and modify the motorbike. Therefore there are some members of this gang who do not use the spooky tokkofuku.
Instead they use greaser or rockabilly fashion, which of course is modified with Japanese style. Boots, leather jackets, greaser-style hair, flu mask or mouth cover, bandana (hachimaki) and other equipment.
Bosozoku is known as a reckless gang that often does mischief and damage. They violate various traffic rules such as ignoring red lights, speeding, not wearing helmets, blocking roads, reckless driving, ultra-noisy exhausts, and so forth.
In addition, they are also known as dangerous gangs. Bosozoku carried out convoys by roaring motorbikes, driving zigzags, honking. They also often damage public property and shout at and threaten other road users. The most brutal, they always carry and brandish weapons. This weapon can be a baseball bat, a wooden sword, an iron pipe, and even a Molotov cocktail.
Bosozoku will damage a car or motorcycle that is blocking or is considered to challenge them. But make no mistake, as long as we don’t block or show disagreement with them, we will be safe. In accordance with their Japanese spirit and the effects of post-war, this gang hates foreigners, especially white Caucasians. When meeting Caucasians, it is certain that Caucasians will be scared to death shouted at, threatened, harassed or even attacked by them.
Due to these characteristics, Bosozoku is considered a troubling criminal. The general Japanese public was afraid and did not like them at the same time. The identity of this gang with delinquency, crime and freedom makes many of them recruited into the Yakuza mafia.
Not only the appearance of clothing, vehicles from Bosozoku were modified with unique and eccentric.
Aura of freedom and wild style combined with a touch of Japan spirit is clearly seen from the results of their modification. Modification that is anti-mainstream, reckless, and daring to be the soul of Japan style modification until now. This principle is still held firm today by automotive tuners who were once involved or at least brought up in the same era as the Bosozoku scene. This is certainly different from us.
Bosozoku motor is a Japanese motorbike modified with American chopper and British cafe racer elements. These elements are then combined with Japan custom style that represents Japan spirit. oversize fairing, high handlebar, elongated seats, and unique and bright colour patterns. Do not miss the fire motif paint and the Japanese imperial flag.
The motorcycle used by this gang is a 250-400cc Japanese motorcycle with super-noisy exhaust. This muffler has been modified to be able to roar very roughly and deafening.
Along the way, some Bosozoku members also have cars. They also modify this car with a style similar to the modification of their motorcycle. If ordinary people would call this ricer. Make no mistake, before there was no term ricer. This modification style is an expression of freedom and pride from Bosozoku.
The existence of Bosozoku is increasingly disappearing. Their number has decreased dramatically. Initially Bosozoku consisted of 507 gangs and in 2009 the number was 76.
The number of members in Tokyo used to reach 5800 people, but in 2012 there were only 112 people left. In 2015, Japanese police stated that from the beginning there were 42,510 members in the 1980s, and now there are 6,771 Bosozoku members.
So, what are the causes of the reduction?
- In 2004 the Japanese government revised the traffic law which gave the police the authority to arrest a group of bikers who were reckless / dangerous driving. Have you ever seen the old Bosozoku video where the cops just lurking could not do anything? Since the revision of this law, the Japanese police can immediately arrest the Bosozoku who act. With this active arrest the number of Bosozoku then decreased rapidly.
- In addition to the Law above, other rules are increasingly stringent. CCTV is everywhere and this further limits the space for gang members. Traffic violations such as reckless driving can get us two years in prison. Even illegal modifications on a motorbike can put us in jail for 3 months.
- The global economic recession that also affected Japan made the price of vehicles, custom modifications and uniforms and trinkets expensive. Today Bozoku is more likely to buy a motorbike scooter than to buy a motorbike and use more normal and cheaper daily clothing.
- An increasingly modern Japanese trend where gangsters are not seen as cool or interesting as before. Most young people no longer want to deal or become gang members. Their mischief certainly still exists, but they are not interested or afraid to become a gang member like Bosozoku.
- One theory is that video games also influence the disappearance of gang culture like Bosozoku. “Thanks to” video games, children can feel violence or other criminals and vent their anger at such things in GTA games.
Currently Bosozoku still exists, even though the amount is far different than before. The population is also decreasing from year to year.
Not only from the amount alone, the charm and cultural values of this gang increasingly fade. Currently there are not many members who modify their motorcycles with the Bosozoku style. The modification is simpler and less striking. Not even a few who use motor scooters. They are now more often using helmets, either because they are aware of safety or because they are afraid of being caught by the police.
Their clothes are not like they used to be. Tokkofuku greatness uniforms have long been abandoned. It might only be used at certain festivals or events. Now they wear normal clothes every day. Yes some still smell like biker, like boots and jackets.
Young people and adults who love motor culture, especially antique or retro motorcycles, now form a new group. This community is called Kyushakai (old bikers). Some of the members are also ex-members of Bosozoku.
But this modern gang is far more docile and normal. They are more obedient to regulations and do not cause trouble. Although considered naughty and criminal, some people consider Bosozoku delinquency to be far more ‘mature’ and have principles. In the past, they fought to find out who was stronger. Once the other party loses or surrenders, immediately the winner will stop.
Juvenile delinquency in Japan currently leads to bullying. Unlike the old era of the Bosozoku era, the current age of fighting centered on bullying and torture for mere pleasure.
Most people are relieved by the disappearance of Bosozoku. Japanese roads are calmer and more conducive now. No more frenetic exhaust sound and convoy motorcycle drivers who are reckless and disturbing.
Nevertheless, there are also some other parties who deplore this culture is gone. Not only from the rituals of their activities, appearance, and modification style. The values of the principle of Japan’s spirit and mischief that is more ‘manly’ aka macho are missed by many people. Of course, when compared with the delinquency of Japanese youth bullying which often takes its victims with silly reasons / mere pleasure.