Hi guys, hope you guys are enjoying your long and deserving holidays. Some of us only know the good things about Japan but not the bad. Well today I’m going to share with you about Bōsōzoku which literally translate to “running out of control tribe” is a Japanese youth subculture associated with customized motorcycles. 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.
Bōsōzoku was first seen in the 1950s as the automobile industry expanded rapidly. The precursors to the bōsōzoku were known as kaminari zoku (“Thunder Tribe”), urban motorcyclists more akin to the British rockers. Many, if not most, bōsōzoku members came from a lower socioeconomic class and may have used the motorcycle gang activities to express disaffection and dissatisfaction with Japanese mainstream society. Some of the bōsōzoku members started from the age of 15 or 16 years old.
In the 1980s and 1990s, bōsōzoku would often embark on massed rides, in which up to 100 bikers would cruise together slowly and rode down an expressway or major highway. The motorcyclists would run toll booths without stopping and would ignore police attempts to detain them. New Year’s Eve was a popular occasion for the massed rides. The bikers would sometimes smash the cars and threaten or beat up any motorists or bystanders who got in the way or expressed disapproval of the bikers’ behaviour. Participation in the gangs peaked at 42,510 members in 1982.
In 2004, the Japanese government passed a revised road traffic law which gave the police more power to arrest bikers riding recklessly in groups. With increased arrests and prosecutions, bōsōzoku participation went into decline. As of 2010, police reported that the new trend among bōsōzoku was to ride together in much smaller groups and to ride scooters instead of heavily modified motorcycles. Aichi Prefecture was reported to have the highest number of riders, followed by Tokyo, Osaka, Ibaraki and Fukuoka.
In February 2011, the Japanese National Police announced that membership in the gangs had fallen to 9,064, the lowest number since the collection of data on the gangs began in 1975. The police put the total number of gangs nationwide at 507, down 76 from 2009. Their number in the Tokyo area had fallen from 5,300 in 1980 to 119 in 2012. In 2013, Japanese Police deemed bōsōzoku as pseudo-yakuza” organizations.
For the ladies, they tend to break away from gender stereotypes by challenging domestic roles expected from women of modern Japan. They would also prove that the subculture is not a dying one, despite Japanese National Police Agency reports stating that the number of recognized Bosozoku members nationwide, hit a record low of 7,297 in 2012. Which in short “women can wipe their own ***”
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