You guys have heard of bōsōzoku, right? If not, here's a quick primer. Roughly translated as "out of control" or "running" tribe, bōsōzoku is a Japanese biker subculture that grew up around motorcycles in the mid-20th century. Here's what the ever omnicient Wikipedia has to say about it:
"Bōsōzoku is a Japanese youth subculture associated with customized motorcycles. The first appearance of these types of biker gangs was in the 1950s. Popularity climbed throughout the 1980s and 1990s, peaking at an estimated 42,510 members in 1982.Their numbers dropped dramatically in the 2000s with a reported number of under 7,297 members in 2012.
Bōsōzoku style traditionally involves jumpsuits similar to those of manual laborers or leather military jackets with baggy pants, and tall boots. This uniform became known as the tokkō-fuku (特攻服, "Special Attack Clothing") and is often adorned with kanji slogans. Typical accessories to this uniform are Hachimaki , surgical masks, and patches displaying the Japanese Imperial Flag. Bōsōzoku members are known for taking a Japanese Road Bike and adding modifications such as oversized fairings, lifted handlebars shifted inwards, large seat backs, extravagant paint jobs, and modified mufflers. Bōsōzoku styles take inspiration from American Choppers and Greasers.
Got all that? Basically, it's a bunch of punk-ass kids on super customized Hondas and Yamahas tear-assing around Japan scaring the hell out of the squares—my kind of people. Their complete disregard for strict cultural norms and their use of Imperial Japanese military iconography is extremely transgressive, and they revel in their notoriety.
So why do I bring this up? Well, I was scrounging around the internet the other day and came across an incredible short film about bōsōzoku. Called “MOTORCYCLE BOY” The Legendary Tigerman, it was made by Paris-based filmmaker and photographer James F. Coton. The film—a scant eight minutes long and shot in both black and white and color—features three different bōsōzoku from the Specter Gang telling their stories in calm, sedate scenes intercut with footage of them being motorcycle hooligans. A little bit music video and a little bit documentary, it's artsy, gorgeous, and extremely punk rock.
I don't want to spoil too much, so if you can spare the time today (you should totally spend the time today) check out “MOTORCYCLE BOY” The Legendary Tigerman. You won't be disappointed.