Like many, I have this fascination with the underworld, the corrupt and the double life. Growing up with mum obsessed in CSI I was allowed to stay up late and watch these with her while we figured out who was the culprit. Dad being a police officer and 3 of my 4 parents studying law there were always interesting conversations to be over heard.
Growing into my teenage years, being around some of the most humble BAD ASS looking people I did not feel threatened by the typical tattooed "biker". I treated them normally and once I felt close enough I was that kid that asked all the questions, what does that tattoo mean? Have you killed anyone? Usually confronted with a laugh there were a few who told me little stories here and there.
Graduating from high school living my own life I never really associated much with anyone from school any more. Then you hear of names who are now involved with the wrong crew to realise that they were those innocent boys you grew up with. My fascination was and is still strong. How do they end up in this "brotherhood" and the "culture" of gangs?
So obviously with my interests high in gangs, the double life and Japan I was in my element when I found out that Bosozoku and Zokusha style cars were originated from gangs in Japan.
Having seen a few things here and there referencing the Bosozoku bikes I had an idea of who they were and the effect they had on the Japanese car culture. But it wasn't until a month before my trip Stewy Bryant shared a video 'Revisiting the glory days with one of Japan's most violent biker gangs' that I was really opened up to the fascinating world of the Bosozuko Bikes, the Yakuza and the effect they had on the car scene. This half an hour video really opened up endless nights of Google and YouTube. I'm hooked!
Zoku meaning gang, Sha meaning car. These Zokusha "gang cars" usually wide, low and outrageous in style developed their own culture now known worldwide...
Living in Australia governed by ridiculous rules the rebel in me loves the Zokusha styled cars and dreams everyday of just doing one and dealing with the consequences, who knows i still might one day....
So travelling to Japan in March 2016 my only 3 requests were:
- Visit Daigo Saito's shop - TICK (blog coming soon)
- See a real life Hakosuka - TICK
- Meet a Zokusha styled car! - TICK
I did not expect to meet, see, hear and feel the presence of the Bosozoku bikes in real life!
It was late Saturday night, we had travelled from Fuji to Tokyo with Luke Fink, Tiarnah, Benny, Princey, Scarlet, Ash and myself when we decided to head out to Daikoku futo to hit up the famous car park meet.
Having only been driven there Luke was a little unsure of the way in, and if you have ever driven there yourself you know it is a jungle of ramps spiraling down to the car park, one wrong turn you are on a 20 minute detour back through Yokohama returning to have another try. Well after hours of driving across the country all day, it was now late at night we were all tired and missed the turn off once again haha
So an hour after the original arrival time planned we were on the right road heading in when we hit a traffic jam, at 11pm? What is going on? We could soon hear the racket ahead and knew instantly it could only be one thing! It was indeed a large group of 50+ obnoxious Bosozoku weaving in and out of lanes travelling at speeds of 60km/h on the highway causing everyone to jam up and proceed around them to the right. I remember this moment vividly, jumping up from my seat (far right) camera in hand laying over Ash and Benny to film this moment. I am driving along side a group of Boso's! I am filming this! ME!?! They were noisy as F*CK revving their engines loud da da da dadada! Weaving from side to side with their large seats waving back and forth just like the video! I am actually witnessing this?!? I am filming this!
Passing with caution due to the "gang" antics related with these guys windows were up and it was time to just take it in. Seeing they were themselves filming, taking photos with their partners on the back we got ahead and Luke pulled over so i could get out and stand by the highway's edge and film them coming past. THIS moment is something i will never forget, a wall of lights came up the highway towards me followed by revving, they had seen me standing camera in hand and definitely put on a show as they rode by....
Once they had passed we hopped back in the car and continued en route to Daikoku. Passing the slow crew again I had my footage and was able to completely absorb their presence. They turned off before the car park and proceeded around the crazy ramps that surround Daikoku-futo making as much noise as possible. Saddened that they did not enter my excitement was refuelled when I spotted another smaller group of Bosozoku parked up in the car park.
Instantly my brain wandered. Were they associates? Were they enemies, a rival gang maybe? Is that why the large group did not enter?
After running around shooting the endless amount of jaw dropping cars I heard the familar sound fire up echoing through the car park. The bikes were leaving before I had a chance to photograph them and introduce myself. I raced over to the exit to film their departure, (a slow process due to the amount of traffic flowing out of that place) they were held up and at a stand still, me being me I just walked up in front of them and began to film, they hesitated, paused thinking I was taking a photo when I gestured for them to continue around me. What was I thinking? I have just seen a video on these guys and the rebellious nature they have....yet there I was standing in the middle of them filming as they parted around me and left!
With the decline of the Bosozuko I only hope that one day I will be able to delve deeper into their culture and in the years to come develop a relationship with the original Bosozoku to give a true insight into their ways. I want to know more!
I was lucky enough to see and photograph a very small group of 5 during the daylight in our travels a week later!
Photography and write up by Jasmynne Tudor