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Bosozoku (暴走族) is the name of a Japanese subculture consisting out of biker gangs that center around over-the-top customized motorcycles. It first emerged during the 1950s as part of the Yanki subculture but has since moved on as an own custom bike culture.


Bosozoku is believed to have originated from a Yanki biker gang known as "Thunder Tribe" (カミナリ族) that frequently made it into the news for their reckless driving and involvement in traffic accidents. In order to archive higher speeds, the members of the gang would remove the mufflers of their motorcycles, causing them to make loud noises akin to thunder while driving.

During the 1960s, the amount of similar biker gangs continued to grow. In 1972, there was a flashmob of about 3000 yanki bikers in Toyoma City that demolished other people's vehicles, and as a result the media started to refer to biker gangs as "bosozoku". The Japanese word "boso" originally meant "to lose control", but in the context of bosozoku its meaning is more along the lines of "road rage".


  • jacket or coat with gang logo embroidery
  • hachimaki headbands
  • eye-catching paint jobs
  • large flags or banners
  • sandan seats
  • air horns


Members of bosozoku gangs often wear large coats known as "tokkofuku" (特攻服) that feature embroidery related to their gang membership and are only worn during outings and graduations. As their name implies, they are inspired by the wear of kamikaze pilots. As tokkofuku feature extensive embroidery that costs a fortune to get made, they are often hand-me-downs from retired to new members as part of the hirachy. There is a stereotype that the kanji on these coats are often nonsense phrases such as "night dew death agony".[1]

Bosozoku gangs not only consist out of men, but also women. Just as how male members have long moved on from the stereotypical Yanki looks so have the female members from Sukeban. They often match their outing outfits to the custom paint job of their bikes and visa versa down to the acrylic nails.



  • Eikichi Onizuka - Great Teacher Onizuka
  • Mondo Owada - Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
  • Saki - Zombieland Saga


  • God Speed You! Black Emperor (1976)

Manga & Anime[]

  • Bad Company
  • Bakuon Rettou
  • Great Teacher Onizuka
  • Shakotan Boogie
  • Shonan Bakusozoku: Bomber Bikers of Shonan
  • Shonan Junai Gumi
  • Tokyo Revengers


  • Crazy Thunder Road (1980)
  • Tokyo Tribe (2012)