The strange world of Bosozoku

Japan is well known for their extreme drift culture. Each year

Bosozoku inspired tuned car

there are championships in Japan with different classes of cars. But Japan is known for much more than only the drift culture. It is known for the extensive tattoo culture, the kimono, sumo wrestling and much more. But there is one (sub)culture that’s not as famous to everyone. Welkom to the world of Bosozoku.


History of Bosozoku

Bosozoku is a subculture with an interest in tuning motorcycles and cars. The culture started in the 1950’s when the Japanese automobile industry expanded rapidly. Before the subculture of Bosozoku was started, it was known as Kaminari Zoku (Thunder tribe). This was an urban motorcycle club that took its inspiration of the American Rock culture. The Kaminari Zoku was a club for higher class people, so some bikers decided to start a club for less fortuned people to show their disaffection and dissatisfaction with the Japanese mainstream society.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Bosozoku became a little bit more rebellious. They started to organize massive rides with up to 100 riders. They would drive through town and run red lights. Because of this newfound danger, the Japanese government passed a revised road traffic law in 2004 which gave the police more power to arrest bikers riding recklessly in groups. Because of this law the number of Bosozoku members has dropped dramatically over the last couple of years.


The vehicles

Inspired by group 5 special production cars

Bosozoku is known for the outrageous tuning style. The most famous examples are their tuned cars. The tuning was inspired by the race group in Japan, Group 5 special production cars. Big spoilers, large body kits and weird exhaust systems.

Bosozoku Motorcycle inspired by different cultures


But bosozoku is not only known for the cars.
The subcultureoriginally started with the customization of bikes. Those bikes were usually Japanese road bikes with all kind of different influences from different styles. For example the Chin-sou-dan_002
American Chopper style and British café racers. The Bosozoku bikes are just a combination of everything. And to top it all off, most bikes had an outrageous paint job with flames or kamikaze style ‘rising sun’ designs.

Perfect example of the weird tuning culture of Bosozoku


Tagged: Bosozoku, bikes, cars, weird




Writer: Wessel Ploeg

Research: Leon Pijnenburg


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