Bosozoku. Japanese Bikers. Photographs and text by Masayuki Yoshinaga.


Japanese Bikers.

Photographs and text by Masayuki Yoshinaga.
Trolley, London, 2002. 90 pp., 120 color illustrations, 10¾x7¾".

Publisher's Description
Masayuki Yoshinaga

Text by Masayuki Yoshinaga
Design by Gareth Hague

7-2/3x10-7/8 inches 90 pages 120 colour photographs hardcover

The Japanese term 'Bosozoku' refers to a specific Japanese phenomenon, the teenage bike gangs based in the urban centres of Japan that gather every weekend in the major metropolises, such as Osaka and Tokyo, for mass rallies of bikers in their thousands.

First formed in the 1950s, when the Hell's Angels in the U.S. reached their apogee with Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones, the Bosozoku have a tame equivalent in the Mods and Rockers that fought pitched battles on Brighton Beach in Britain in the late 1960s. They are also considered in Japan to be the first rung on the ladder for would-be members of the Yakuza (the Japanese equivalent of the Mafia).

Bosozoku will be the first book to reveal the intimate secrets of Japanese biker gangs, through a series of stunning images captured by the leading Japanese photographer Masayuki Yoshinaga over the last six years. He himself was a member of the Bosozoku, and has gained an unprecedented access to their secret societies.

His homage to the bikers includes images of the various Bosozoku clubs throughout Japan, including female bike gangs, alongside studio portraits of individual members with their customised bikes, and the mass rallies and road wars that have made the Bosozoku subculture such a world-wide underground phenomenon.

Masayuki Yoshinaga explains: 'As far as the Bosozoku are concerned, what I really want is for people to acknowledge who they really are. The Bosozoku are the youngest age group in Japan to create their own scene as the expression of a public spectacle. For me, even their motorbikes are an art form. They show what it means to be liberated'.

Masayuki Yoshinaga is one of the leading fashion and reportage photographers of his generation, whose images appear in such prestigious magazines as Studio Voice, Dazed & Confused, The Face and Barfout! His work was recently shown in the Barbican Art Gallery's Jam exhibition and at the Dazed & Confused Gallery in London. He lives in, and continues to investigate, the subcultures of Tokyo.

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