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Bosozoku
Bosozoku

Bōsōzoku
is a Japanese subculture associated with motorcycle clubs and gangs.


They were first seen in the 1950s as the Japanese automobile industry expanded rapidly. The first
bōsō were known as zokukaminari-zoku ("Lightning Tribes"). It is common to see bōsōzoku groups socializing in city centers and playing loud music characterized by their lifestyle, such as The Roosters, and the Street Sliders.

The word bōsōzoku is also applied to motorcycle gangs, who share an interest in modifications (often illegal) for motorcycles, such as removing the mufflers 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 shinai bōsō ,speeding in city streets, not usually for street racing but more for thrills. With many bikes involved, the leading one is driven by the sentōsha, 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 through suburbs at speeds of 5–10 miles an hour, 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, and are subject to increasing state and police pressure.

The stereotypical bōsōzoku look is often portrayed, and even caricatured, in many forms of Japanese media such as anime, manga and films. The typical bōsōzoku member is often depicted in a uniform consisting of a jumpsuit like those worn by manual laborers or a tokko-fuku, a type of military issued overcoat with kanji slogans usually worn open with no shirt underneath showing off their bandaged torsos and baggy matching pants tucked inside tall boots. Tokko-fuku in Japanese means 'special attack uniform', which is the uniform of the kamikaze pilots, which in Japanese were called the "Special Attack Battalion" . The uniforms will most likely be adorned with militaristic slogans, patriotic rising sun  patches, ancient Chinese characters, or even manji. They will also often wrap a tasuki, which is a sash tied in X around the torso, a look inspired by Japanese World War II fighter pilots. Leather jackets, often embroidered with club/gang logos, and even full leather suits are also seen as common elements of the bōsōzoku look.Among other items in the bōsōzoku attire are usually round or wrap-around sunglasses, long hachimaki headbands also with battle slogans and a pompadour hairstyle most likely akin to the greaser/rocker look or perhaps because of the hairstyle's association with the Yazuka. The punch perm is considered a common bōsōzoku hairstyle as well. Surgical masks are also stereotypically worn by bōsōzokus perhaps to conceal their identities although these type of masks are also worn by allergy sufferers in Japan, especially during autumn. Females are also shown dressed in a similar style but dress in a more feminine manner with long and often dyed hair, high-heeled boots and excessive make-up. They are the subject of song "Bosozoku" by the American band LeMans Electro.

Image from Deviantart, Information courtesy of Wikipedia.
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