Friday, April 09, 2010

Bosozoku: Speed Tribes of Japan

bosozoku 400x543

from Figure 8 Productions

Sayonara Speed Tribes is an intimate portrait of Japanese people who live outside of the norm and their struggle to fit into a country where irregularity is a sin.

Since the late 1950's, Japanese youth have congregated on decked out Suzukis, Kawasakis, Hondas and Yamahas, revved boisterous tunes and ignored traffic rules. In their heyday they once commandeered whole sections of towns, defying both public and police opposition with one purpose in mind: to be seen and heard. Teenager motorcycle gangs, called bosozoku - often translated as speed tribes - are infamous within Japan for their elaborate uniforms and custom machines. Although they once reigned supreme throughout the midnight streets they have become the perfect target for a society troubled over its vanishing uniformity. Bosozoku are often portrayed in the media as brutish and violent juvenile delinquents, which is a stereotype the more attention-hungry of the youths often embrace. But is this tough guy image just an act?

Hazuki Kazuhiro, one time leader of the gang Specter, has retired from his beloved team to pursue ambitions in the world of kick boxing. Sayonara Speed Tribes begins as Hazuki –now a rank and file in the Japanese mafia – embarks on training for his comeback into ring. This film offers an exploration into bosozoku tradition and history and a rare peek into the lives shaped by this modern day but fading subculture. It combines views from the police, academics and the bikers themselves with striking photography of the bosozoku from Yoshinaga Masayuki, one of Japan's leading artists. Documented over a period of five years by first time director Jamie Morris, it is both visual and informative.

Hazuki's story spans from the roads to the ring, and from the Japanese underworld to Tenri temples in Nara. It offers an extraordinary story and insight into what happens after a rebel lays down his bike.

thanks evilrabbitry for the head's up!!

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