Documentary: Sayonara Speed Tribes!

Ever since we started JNC, the sub-culture of the bosozoku biker gangs of Japan has always been a fascinating subject. The bosozoku were always a feeder-class as thugs for the mafia, but as we reported many moons ago, their outlaw traditions have been hammered into submission by constant police attention in recent years. But they’re also being left behind by an increasingly corporatized Yakuza.

Tokyo-based Figure 8 Productions has an hour-long documentary which has started screening in Tokyo this month, but you can buy the DVD  of the movie at their site. As the trailer says: Sayonara Speed Tribes chronicles Hazuki — an aging Japanese bike gangster and the crop of halfhearted youngsters he mentors.  As bike gang culture in Japan succumbs to police pressure he confronts his tough guy past and dwindling options for the future.”

Looks interesting!

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13 Responses to Documentary: Sayonara Speed Tribes!

  1. Nigel said:

    I will be buying this.

  2. Brian said:

    Come on, you guys are usually so good at using the proper Japanese word for things, but you went with mafia? Not Yakuza?

  3. Kev said:

    But we already used the word Yakuza in that paragraph :)

  4. Brian said:

    My dumb ass realized that Yakuza is used a few lines below that, but as a matter of principle I must stand by my demands for Yakuza to be used every time you refer to organized crime in Japan. Every time!!! Just kidding. Its 2 am and I shouldnt leave comments when Im half asleep and dont read things properly. Oops

    • Kev said:

      FWIW, the original version had Yakuza being used twice in that paragraph. I thought it was too repetitive, so I changed one of them to “mafia” :)

      • Brian said:

        That makes sense. Like I said, I just really shouldnt comment at two in the morning, I end up sounding like either an idiot or a jackass, hopefully it was just an idiot this time :)

  5. Drive510 said:

    Wait, I thought the Yakuza was now a recognized entity (business conglomerate) that could now be sued under Japanese law. Biker/car gangs cannot. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Brian said:

      They have really close ties to legit businesses, but Id never heard anything like that. I mean, as a criminal organization I wouldnt think they would want to open themselves to any sort of legal attention voluntarily. You could be right though, and youve got me curious too.

    • Kev said:

      If you want to learn more, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book: http://www.japansubculture.com/tokyovice/

      Get the book (it’s well worth the read) but basically over the decades, the yakuza is making less of its money from gangster-related stuff, and increasingly more from big business. So I suppose that a bunch of noisy bikers are not as relevant as they once were :)

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