top of page

Bosozoku 2020

Our friend, and contributor, Larry from New York City Motorcycle, recently moved to Japan where he has created a new business, exporting rare, desirable but affordable bikes and cars to the USA (see more in his @newyorkcitymotorcycles instagram feed, and check the stories for new stock). While in Japan he came across a couple of Bosozoku ride-outs. They remind me very much of superannuated mods in the UK, reliving their youths (or youths they wish they'd had but didn't) dressing up in the uniform for a ride out.

Larry, that's him belwo trying a bozo out of size, sent his thoughts.

The term bosozoku did not appear until the 1970s, when battles between biker groups and the police were a common occurrence.

The scene itself did not coin bosozoku 'Violent speed tribes'. The frequent gang riots created a social frenzy. The media, channeling popular outrage, began referring to teenage motorcycle gangs as bosozoku: violent speed tribes. Despite the attempts by the media to scare the public and push the National Police Agency, bosozoku participation continued to rise.

Along with two stroke-biased noise and smoke, another feature of bosozoku is style. Vivid colors, long and tall fairings and sissy bars are standard bosozoku, along with clothing, helmets and Rising Sun symbols from pre-war imperial Japan.

They ride in packs. You can always tell when they’re coming by the rat-a-tat-tat of their engines revving, before they appear.

Today’s violent speed tribes are a singularly unique mosaic of style, colour, noise and smoke. Without the riots.


bottom of page