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Yanki (ヤンキー) consists of young men and women who dye their hair blond or orange, wear trashy clothes and smoke, drink before they're out of high school. They are famous for being loud, rude and refusing to take part in the strict manners of Japanese society.

In addition to the specific aesthetic, Yanki can be a general term to refer to the delinquent groups in Japan. For example, Sukeban, Gyaru, Bosozoku, and Teamer, can be considered Yanki.


The Yankii subculture lasted a long time in Japan; it originated from the '50s, gained its name in the '70s, and then flourished with popularity throughout the '80s and '90s. People stopped adopting the aesthetic in real life after the 2000s, but it still remains popular in anime and manga to this day.

Yanki could be recognized by punch perms or pompadours, shaved eyebrows, altered school uniforms, popping squats, being poor students and causing violence or trouble. Yanki is a term that applies to both boys and girls, but some girls split into a seperate subculture called Sukeban. Although it is rumored that yankii would be recruited into the yakuza (the Japanese mafia), this is not always true. Many yanki simply joined the regular workforce and lived regular, productive lives after high school.

The name "yankii" is borrowed from the English word "Yankee", a name taken from the American GIs who gave the Japanese their first glimpse into the world of rock ‘n’ roll.[1] Yankii was heavily influenced by the American culture brought over by US soldiers. Sukajan, which were souvenir jackets inspired by American letter jackets originally targeted towards soldiers deployed at US Military base in Yokosuka, were then commonly worn by the local Yankii imitating US soldiers in the fashion movement known as "Sukaman". [2] The popularity of Sukajan spread through the entire country and became more associated with Yankii after being featured in the movie Pigs and Battleships.[3] Yankii haircuts such as Pompadour were inspired by the Greaser subculture.

Along with sukajan, Yankii are known for wearing a long jacket with high collars known as the "chouran" (長ラン), typically ones in black color. It is a type of modified "gakuran" (学ラン), which is the military-style male school uniform of many Japanese middle-schools and high-schools. The chouran originated from the Bankara fashion that had died out but then lived on through the uniform for the leaders of Tokyo cheer teams, where it then became adopted by yankiis and spread to schools across the country.[4] The chouran is often seen worn on the shoulders unbuttoned in order to give it an even bigger appearance. It also common to see chouran embroidered and modified with kanji, similar to tokku-fuku.



Cosplayers wearing Yankii and Bosozoku outfits. Blue sukajan is worn top-center, black gakuran top-left, and tokku-fuku along the bottom.

  • Chouran and other altered school uniforms
  • Sukajan
  • "Tokku-fuku" (特攻服), also worn by Bosozoku
  • Tattoos
  • Manji
  • Miniskirts (women)
  • Pompadour and other Greaser hairstyles
  • Typically gel-thick with black color
  • Red or blonde dyed hair is also popular
  • Shaved eyebrows


Rockabilly City Pop

A "Japanese Rockabilly" hairstyle for men.

Japanese Rockabilly[]

Japanese Rockabilly originated in the 1950's and combines the Rockabilly music and dancing of that time period with the fashion of Greaser. Similar to Yanki, it was spread to Japan from the American soldiers deployed there. [5]

The fashion comprises of black Greaser jackets and jeans. Women could wear this style, but they also are known to wear 50's dresses and poodle skirts with polka dot and floral designs. Men's hairstyles harken back somewhat to the 1950s American biker, with the iconic, huge, and tall pompadour being the main hairstyle.

More information at Japanese Fashion Wiki: Rockabilly.


Illustration of teamers.


The Teamers (チーマー) are a type of delinquent in Japan that refer to their groups as "teams" rather than gangs, influenced by American Hip-Hop culture. They originated from the area surrounding the street named Center Gai in Shibuya, Tokyo. They wore a style of street fashion inspired by American casual fashion that was called Shibu-Kaji, Shibuya Casual.[6] They are known for wearing American-produced clothing such as Leather jackets. The Gyaru subculture has also been associated with Teamers due to some of the girlfriends of members being Kogal.[7]


Yanki tend to be part of a tight-knit community that was created during middle school and stayed together through adulthood. Some stereotypes (throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s) included men entering the field of construction, while women were teen mothers who dropped out of highschool. Yankii also maintain a strict social code with specific customs. Groups tend to have fighting codes that are focus on limiting violence. Cars and motorcycles can also be a part of the Yanki lifestyle.[8]

Related activities[]

  • Bullying
  • Drinking
  • Petty crime
  • Posing in a squat-like position
  • Pranks
  • Smoking and doing drugs


Music Videos[]


There are many Yankī movies, most of them being B action movies.

Manga & Anime[]

  • The plot of Tokyo Revengers (2017 – 2022) revolves around a Yankī gang called the Tokyo Manji Gang.
  • One of the primary characters of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (1987 – present), Jotaro Kujo, is a Yankii.
  • Bucchigiri?! (2024) is about a Yankī high school
  • Goro Mihashi and various enemies in Shenmue (1999)



  1. Kaori Shoji (July 5, 2002). Our yankii are different from your yankees. Japan Times. Retrieved June 15, 2020. Archived.
  2. Marx, W. David (2015). Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465073870. WDM2015.
  3. Kramer, Elizabeth. (2020). New vintage – new history? The sukajan (souvenir jacket) and its fashionable reproduction. International Journal of Fashion Studies. 7. 25-47. 10.1386/infs_00015_1.
  5.  Rockabilly in Japan, Baby. Japan Powered. Retrieved July 2, 2023. Archived.
  8. Stephanie Buck (October 13, 2016). Meet the ‘yankii,’ the Japanese subculture that embraces American trashiness. Medium. Retrieved June 10, 2023. Archived.
  9. (David A. Harvey/Getty)