Japanese biker gangs on the decline

1:00 PM on 03.19.2012
Japanese biker gangs on the decline photo

The clothing style of bosozoku, or Japanese biker gangs, is amazing. Well, maybe not that guy with the ridiculously high pompadour in the middle of the header image, but that guy on the left is cool. It's a weird fusion of biker toughness with retro Japanese clothing and American rockabilly styles. A few decades ago, there were tons of bosozoku terrorizing the streets, making loud noises with their modded bikes, damaging property, and attacking people. There were over 42,000 guys claiming membership at their peak in 1982, and probably quite a few girls too.

But as of last February, there are now less than 9,000 bosozoku in Japan, according to Mainichi Shimbun. A major part of that are newer laws that make it easy to arrest large groups of bikers. Another reason is the cost of being in a gang; with the economy in a recession, spending money on keeping up your image and customizing your bike is a lot harder to afford than it was in the 80s. Some point out that there are so many diversions for younger Japanese that they are more likely to play videogames or use their computer than join a gang.

I say we need to protect this endangered species before they disappear forever. Can you imagine anime in the future without the occasional joke at the expense of bosozoku? (Well, I can, but that's not the point.) I say we create a reserve for this majestic creature, where they can terrorize the establishment as much as they want, illegal bike parts are affordable, and a vat of hair gel is always right around the corner.

[Via Kotaku, image credit Elysia]

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