Underground Hero: Love to Hate Me

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Article by Brian Hannon. Film by Luke Huxham.

When you sit back and think about how the Japanese automotive culture has influenced the American scene, what do you think had the biggest impact? Many believe the culture is simply so far advanced that a simple word defines this impact: progress. With progress come those who push the limits to such a far extent there’s absolutely no way mainstream American culture can adopt it, or can it? Ten years from now, will we consider these outliers the founding fathers of a new culture that defines our scene?

One of the more outstanding outliers of the Japanese car culture hasn’t really invaded America yet: Bosozuku style. Unless you’re deeply into the Japanese underground culture, you probably never heard of it. In a nut shell, it’s the name of motorcycle gangs in Japan known for their extreme style, blatant disregard for the law (and just about anyone but themselves), and functions as a sort of breeding ground for the Yakuza (the Japanese Mafia).

How extreme are they? Imagine the Captain America motorcycle from Easy Rider on a crazy acid trip with a British Café racer, and you begin to get the idea. Loud exhausts, wild paint, and riders dressed as kamikaze pilots are dead giveaways of the Bosozuku. Mix that in with a bit of Ruff Ryder flare for dramatics on the streets, and you get the recipe for the guys who like to terrorize the streets of Japan.

The bikes appear harmless, but that’s deceiving. Remember, we’re talking Yakuza in training. We recommend you not mock their style.

Such extreme style eventually bled into the automotive culture. Overly exaggerated fender flares, exhausts that take a dramatic turn and reach to the sky, and front spoilers that look ready to mow down crowds are the telltale signs. These are more of ’70’s Japanese race cars on acid. Yes, it can seem a bit The Fast & the Furious, but the attention to detail they bring to their cars is second to none.

This mini-documentary touches upon that Bosozuku style – specifically a Japanese gangster in Kabukicho’s red light district known as Shinichi Moroboshi. His way of life is a perfect example of a lifestyle dictated by pure pleasure. ”I used to bousou (hoon) with a bike, I bousou with a Lamborghini now …. Through bousou, I am going to pursue and live the tale of a dream chaser.” This awesome piece of automotive cinematography could potentially raise the bar for everybody else.

While you’re watching the video, be sure to visit the YouTube page of the director, Luke Huxham, who boasts some of the sickest car culture videos we’ve seen in a long time. He’s also the man responsible for this mini-doc of a Japanese enthusiast who built a Porsche 962 Le Mans racer for the streets.

And yes, some purists may cringe at the neon lights and over-the-top graphics on what appears to be a super-rare Lamborghini Diablo GT, but in some sense, the car embodies its owner’s spirit and his desire to craft what best expresses himself. That, and he really doesn’t care what you think.

We’d like to hear from you about some of the other fringe groups of the automotive world that don’t get much attention. Let us know what’s out there that you think deserves notice; we can always help spread the word!


Bhrp's Profile Image

Brian Hannon (BHRP)

Grew up around cars and racing, a passion fueled by my whole family. Participated in numerous track days with cars and motorcycles as well as covered the NASA East Coast Honda Challenge for Grassroots Motorsports. Now that I'm in Colorado I'm enamored with the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb... borderline obsessive...
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Write a CommentCOMMENTS
Surferman802003's Profile Image

Great Lifestyle video!! Thanks for sharing this. Cant wait to see more.

Car6On14's Profile Image

interesting find, def will be watching these vids over the weekend.

Rockysds's Profile Image

Yeah it definitely is an interesting find.. I think we'll start to see a trend more towards these style social "entertainment documentaries".

Imprezions's Profile Image

Nice writeup Brian. Awesome video too. I love how outlandish and ridiculous the bousou style is. It's completely over the top, and does anyone care? Hell no. Nothing gets attention more than loud bright machines hauling ass on Japan's highways. I can dig it. Not sure it'd take off here, all though I did see quite a bit of neon and accent lighting at HIN. OG Fast and the Furious anyone?

Rockysds's Profile Image

While I'm not sure I agree with the actual style or the "gangster" behind it, I understand it.. and the potential impact it could have. If I could sum it up, it's a person's style and they do what they do. And I can respect that