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Goes great with ACID: Behold the completely f*cked up giant wearable cat head

The creepy as fuck ‘Real Cat Head’ band.
If you hang out on the Internet long enough you’ll see some stuff that you can never unsee. Such is the case with Housetu Sato’s frighteningly realistic looking and wearable “Real Cat Heads.” Made out of felt, Sato’s freakishly large cat heads became so famous after making their debut on Sato’s Facebook page that they were displayed at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art museum.

Since then Sato (a professor at the Japanese School of Wool Art) has apparently received loads of requests from folks wanting to buy his Real Cat Heads and due to that response he obliged and the bizarro feline head gear can now be purchased by those willing to shell out nearly ¥600,000 yen (roughly $5706.14 USD) and they only go up in price from there depending on the design. Each cat head is made to order, stands approximately five feet high (and wide) and the entire process takes about three months to complete. Though it’s noted on Dwango (the site that is selling the heads) that the “Real Cat Heads” are only available to buyers in Japan, apparently if you ask Sato nicely over on his blog he might make an exception for an interested buyer not located in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Images of folks who appear to have purchased their own giant cat heads as well as examples of Sato’s incredibly realistic handiwork follow. 


More of this insanity after the jump…

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When Can met Japan: David Sylvian and Holger Czukay’s wonderful ambient collaborations
09:18 am


Holger Czukay
David Sylvian

The UK glam band Japan had a singularly interesting career—though influenced by the usual glam touchstones Bowie, Dolls, et al, their visual presentation directly predicted the New Romantic movement, and to this day the band is still somewhat incorrectly associated with that flamboyant scene, largely on the basis of similar haircuts. But Japan were more directly from the art-rock mold, experimenting with funk, electronics, and (surprise surprise) Asian musics. By 1982, as new-ro peaked, and the band was starting to climb from cult success to chart success, personal tensions broke them up. But the band’s singer, David Sylvian, continued as a solo artist in the avant-rock mold, collaborating with Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Ryuichi Sakamoto, and releasing adventurous sophisto-pop albums inspired by jazz, prog, and contemporary classical.

On his 1984 solo debut Brilliant Trees, Sylvian was the beneficiary of vocal, brass and guitar contributions from Czukay, bassist of the long-running and influential Krautrock band Can. Though Czukay was a hired backup player on those sessions with no songwriting credits on the LP, the pair evidently found common creative ground. They’d record together in 1986, 1987, and 1988, those sessions ultimately becoming two wonderfully lush but little-known ambient LPs. Plight and Premonition, released in 1988, is a spooky and beautiful suite of two side-length songs (no points awarded for guessing that their titles are “Plight” and “Premonition”) in the Klaus Schultze vein, made with a combination of traditional instruments and manipulated radio sounds. Additionally, Czukay’s Can co-conspirator Jaki Liebezeit is credited with “Infra-sound,” which is science for “shit you can’t actually hear.”
More after the jump…

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The unhappiest places on earth: Nightmarish playground structures from around the world
09:59 am

Stupid or Evil?


A strange reverse “human centipede” style playground sculpture.
Many of the images in this nightmare-fueled post were taken in playgrounds around Russia, and they are about as bleak as a vodka shortage in Moscow in the middle of winter.

The “peeing rainbow kids” of Kiev, Ukraine.
Some of the other perplexing playground structures that you’ll see, such as a rock climbing “thing” that looks like a giant dick, and the reverse human centipede sculpture (pictured at the top of this post) were photographed in China, Tokyo and some European locations. Each of them has one thing in common: they appear to have been created by people who don’t like children at all. Of course there are plenty of demented looking clowns as well as depressed looking bears (because, Russia), and other odd animal-themed slides and such that are just too inexplicably odd for words. Unless those words consist of the triple-threat known as “WTF.”

If you need me, I’ll be under the bed.



‘Goblin’ merry-go-round.

More images of strange playground structures that need to be put out of their misery, after the jump…

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‘Funeral Parade of Roses’: Edgy 1969 Japanese drama that inspired Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’
02:09 pm


Stanley Kubrick
Toshio Matsumoto

Toshio Matsumoto’s Funeral Parade of Roses is one of the most audacious and astounding feature films ever made, a visually-stunning hodgepodge of cutting edge 60s graphic design, Warholian underground cinema, documentary filmmaking along with wildly experimental editing techniques. Matsumoto’s dazzling freewheeling filmmaking breaks the Brechtian fourth wall several times—interviewing the actors about their roles and pulling a shot out to reveal the camera and lighting crew—and shows the influence of William Klein’s fashionista extravaganza Who Are You, Polly Magoo?, the films of Jean Luc Godard and Alain Resnais, even Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Funeral Parade of Roses is a furious and dizzying bombardment of violence, sex, and drugs. The 1969 film is well-known to have been a major influence on Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, and we see this in the sped-up montage scenes set to classical music, the sound design and editing style, and art direction (not to mention the false-eyelashes and the phallic lollipops). It was produced via the Art Theatre Guild (ATG) the legendary Japanese production company and distributors of the country’s “New Wave” cinema that was shunned by the major studios. In one underground “in-joke” New York’s avant-garde cinema promoter Jonas Mekas is mentioned by name and quoted:

“All definitions of cinema have been erased. The doors are now open.”


All this and I’ve yet to mention that Funeral Parade of Roses takes place in Tokyo’s gay underworld—Bara no sôretsu is the original Japanese title, “bara” meaning “rose” which equates to the pejorative use of “pansy”—giving it a particularly edgy reputation for a film made in Japan in 1969.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
It’s so nice to be a beautiful girl: Meet J-Pop’s avant garde sweetheart Kahimi Karie
12:43 pm


Soft Machine
Kahimi Karie

There was a while there in the mid to late 90s when it looked like Japanese pop chanteuse Kahimi Karie would break out of Tokyo’s hip and fashionable “Shibuya-kei” scene (which included Pizzicato Five, Plastic Fantastic Machine, Dee-lite’s Tōwa Tei and others) to find international stardom. She certainly had the potential, the looks and the style. I think when European and American music fans first discovered her, it was assumed that there might be other, similar J-Pop singers like her still to find, but this sadly wasn’t the case. Kahimi Karie (real name Hiki, Mari) was unique within that category, if she even deserved to be lumped in with J-Pop at all.

Influenced by the French yé-yé singers of the 1960s and finding her own Serge Gainsbourg(s) in the persons of then boyfriend Keigo Oyamada (aka the brilliant Cornelius) and quirky Scottish performer Momus, Karie’s whispery, half-spoken Claudine Longet-esque vocals were the perfect gloss on a pop confection that looked backwards and forwards equally.

Her best-known single “Good Morning World” was commissioned for use in a Japanese cosmetics company’s TV commercial. The song’s playful, nearly nonsensical dada lyrics named-checked a Fall song (“How I Wrote ‘Elastic Man’”) and it utilized a particularly effective sample lifted from the Soft Machine’s “Why Am I So Short?Talk about two insanely cool dog whistles to smuggle into a corporate advertising jingle. Bravo!

There was much to like in the Kahimi Karie package, but for whatever reason, other than the small hipster J-Pop audience, few outside of Japan took notice.

Karie’s sound has radically changed over the years as she’s collaborated with the likes of Arto Lindsay, Add N to (X) and Yasuharu Konishi. Now 48 and living in New York after a long period of residing in Paris, it seems like she has turned her back on hoping for another mainstream pop hit. Recent projects have been produced in collaboration with Japanese noise rocker Yoshihide Otomo and experimental musician Jim O’Rourke. She actually hasn’t been that active in music for many years and her website, infrequently updated, seems to indicate that she might be involved with fashion and bag design these days.

“Good Morning World” written and produced by Momus:

More from Kahimi Karie after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Amusing manga of The Cure, Siouxsie Sioux, Marc Bolan, Hanoi Rocks & more from the 80s

Robert Smith of The Cure on the front cover of Japanese music magazine 8 Beat Gag, 1988
Robert Smith of The Cure on the front cover of Japanese music magazine ‘8 Beat Gag,’ 1988.
I’m really into these sweet manga illustrations which were published back in the 80s in a Japanese music magazine called 8 Beat Gag. Written in Japanese, most (if not all) are likely by the the rather prolific manga artist Atsuko Shima—but she wasn’t the only artist that created the cartoons that featured popular musical acts in weird situations that Japanese youth were obsessing about.

The fantastic cartoon of Finnish band Hanoi Rocks, which may have also been published in 8 Beat Gag, did show up as a surprise insert UK pressings of the band’s last record 1984’s Two Steps From the Move. Which makes me want to hunt a copy down just so I can have one of my own. When it comes to finding copies of 8 Beat Gag, good luck. As when they do pop up (which they occasionally do), they will cost you a tidy sum. The comic featuring The Cure (where Robert Smith Inexplicably morphs into some sort of goth Yeti. Because, Japan), follows in its entirety as well as a few others featuring Siouxsie Sioux going up against Girlschool in some sort of track event involving vegetables, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Marc Bolan, Peter Murphy, Morrissey and 80s New Wavers Ultravox.
A manga cartoon about The Cure from Japanese music magazine, 8 Beat Gag, 1988
A manga cartoon about The Cure from Japanese music magazine, ‘8 Beat Gag,’ 1988.



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Classic Japanese punk band ‘The Star Club’ covering Sham 69,The Clash, & the Ramones
10:17 am


The Clash
punk rock
Sham 69
The Star Club

The Star Club
An early photo of The Star Club

Since getting their start back in Nagoya, Japan in the spring of 1977, Japanese punk band, The Star Club, has put out more than 30 records (their most recent Max Breakers was released in December of 2015), and despite numerous lineup changes over the decades, the band continues to tour and perform with original vocalist, Hikage.
The long-running vocalist for The Star Club, Hikage, 1978
Hikage, the long-running vocalist for The Star Club, 1978
There were no shortage of punk bands in Japan during the late 70s and early 80s such the influential Blue Hearts, Anarchy, The Stalin, Crack the Marian, noise-punks Outo and hardcore punks, Gauze. Obviously, most of these groups got their inspiration from the punk that was happening thousands of miles away in the UK and New York, as the title of this post alludes to. Over the years, the rotating members of The Star Club even have even used mashups of the names of members of the Sex Pistols and Clash as their own. At one time back in the day, the bass player was known as “Paul Vicious,” the drummer called himself “Topper Cook,” and the guitarist became “Steve Cat Jones.”
The Star Club, early 1980s
From heavy metal to art, I’m a huge fan of the creative forces that emanate to my ears and eyes by way of Japan. And watching videos of The Star Club performing not only their own music back in the 80s, but the music of their punk idols, pioneers like Sham 69, The Clash and the Ramones, pretty much made my day. I found it especially enjoyable to watch the 80s version of Star Club vocalist Hikage swirling around while spewing out “Bodies” in a shirt not unlike Johnny Lydon’s straight-jacket-looking muslin “Destroy” shirt.
The Star Club
The Star Club “Aggressive Teens/Bodies” Australian release, 1986
If you dig what follows, I have some good news for you as many of The Star Club’s recordings can be found on Ebay and Discogs. I’ve also posted videos of the Star Club covering “Borstal Breakout” by Sham 69, The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Bodies,” by the Sex Pistols, and “I Fought the Law” as famously covered by The Clash (which is a part of the performance in first video below). The first video also includes a short amusing interview with the band, which was recorded at a show The Star Club did under the alias of “Anarchy in the J.A.P” in support of their fifteenth anniversary and cover album of the same name in 1992.

The Star Club performing as “Anarchy in the J.A.P” in the early 90s. A brief interview with the band pops up just before their cover of Sham 69’s 1979 single, “If the Kids are United”
More from the Star Club, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Upskirt underpants umbrellas are a thing in Japan
10:33 am



The latest supposed craze in Japan are upskirt umbrellas featuring images of popular schoolgirl anime characters. Certainly something like this would never fly in the states, but Japan is Japan and so we must experience brain freeze and go with it, I suppose. Anyway, the underside of the umbrella—called an “Un-burera” which is a play of “umbrella” and “underpants”—showcases the underpants while the topside features the anime character’s face. 

Apparently the umbrellas come with strong warnings that they will cause, “extreme embarrassment for the user” and that the owner uses the item in public “at their own risk.”

Gee, I wonder why? Nope, nothing sleazy about this at all!



via Rocket News

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Retro rockabilly gangs of Tokyo
02:37 pm



For the past 30 years (if not more), you can see a re-creation of leather jackets, greased-back pompadours, and lollipop dresses, just like something out of the movie Grease, if you go to Tokyo’s famous Yoyogi Park near the Meiji-Jingumae station, for that is where the Tokyo Rockabilly Club assembles every Sunday to pay tribute to musical heroes like Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley.

Rockabilly has been making inroads in Japan as far back as 1955, when Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” dominated the charts in the country, but the current groups probably trace their origins to the 1970s, the same decade that Americans were enjoying American Graffiti and Happy Days, not to mention Grease itself.

Rockabilly, especially the form that partakes so much of the 1970s revival phase, has a cutesy edge redolent of sock hops and guys named “Potsie,” but the genre has always had an authentically rebellious edge, and the same is true of the rockabilly gangs of Yoyogi Park. This particular tribe is probably influenced by an earlier Japanese youth culture called the Kaminari zoku (“Thunder tribe”), which was considered a dangerous gang in the 1950s due to its involvement with illegally customized motorcycles, reckless driving, street racing, and fighting. The group that gathers today in Tokyo, of course, is a tourist attraction and perfectly harmless.

“Kaminari zoku” from the 1950s
Dave Barry poked fun at the rockabilly nuts of Yoyogi Park in his 1992 book Dave Barry Does Japan (1992 was a big year for interest in Japan and Japanese pop culture):

... the first thing we saw was the Bad-Ass Greasers. These were young men, maybe a dozen of them, deeply into the 1950s-American-juvenile-delinquent look, all dressed identically in tight black T-shirts, tight black pants, black socks and pointy black shoes. Each one had a lovingly constructed, carefully maintained, major-league caliber 1950s-style duck’s-ass haircut, held in place by the annual petroleum output of Kuwait. One of them had a pompadour tall enough to conceal former president Carter. [Note that the pictures here feature just such a pompadour, as well.]


One of them turned on a boom-box cassette tape of “Heartbreak Hotel.” The circle started clapping to the music; one of them got up, went to the middle of the circle, and began dancing. The dance he chose to do was—get ready for the epitome of menacing Badness—the Twist. He did it stiffly, awkwardly, looking kind of like Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd doing the wild-and-crazy-guys routine, except that he was deadly serious. So were the guys clapping in the circle. They clearly believed that they were too hip for mortal comprehension. They did not seem to sense that they might look a little silly, like a gang of Hell’s Angels that tries to terrorize a small town while wearing tutus.

Well, 2015 isn’t 1992, and the existence of a small group of people dorkily enjoying whatever they choose to enjoy flies a lot better today than it did then. Dave Barry is amused that they don’t look sufficiently “cool” or “badass,” but this is Japan, land of simulacra and, more to the point, exuberant cosplay.



Much more after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Japanese man supposedly captures ‘fabled Ghost Child’ on video
08:52 am


Ghost Child

I live for stupid stuff like this: A Japanese man “allegedly” captured a “Ghost Child” (aka a zashiki-warashi) on video. If you don’t know what a “Ghost Child” is (I didn’t) it’s a popular character from Japanese folklore and it’s considered good luck if one is seen roaming around your home. That sounds terrible to me, but whatever. Japan.

Footage of the encounter was uploaded to Facebook by the home owner in Japan and shows what appears to be a child moving around a light.

It is first seen floating from the left, before crouching down and disappearing. Moments later it reappears on the right side of the light and appears to hover above it, before vanishing completely.

Let me start by saying: I dig the soundtrack. I can groove to it.

One YouTube commenter named Phaota gave the following reasons for calling shenanigans on the “Ghost Child” video:

Fake.  The spirit is showing for way too long and too much detail.  If it was a real spirit, you’d be seriously lucky to even get a few seconds of detail that good.  Everything about the video is too perfect.  Also, the child is not “floating”, but clearly walking.

If it was a “real spirit” it seems unlikely that it would have a higher video resolution than the room it’s walking through, too, no? I mean, isn’t that the case with “real spirits”?

Again, did I mention that magical soundtrack? And is the spooky kid reading a magazine at one point? I like that detail. It’s so mundane! But can “real spirits” really pick up stuff? If so how?

So many questions. so many questions…

h/t Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Art classes (with naked models) help Japanese virgins get to the next level
11:01 am



It’s almost impossible to write about this story without referencing The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the successful 2006 movie that did so much for Steve Carell’s career. In Japan, it seems, the proliferation of Andy Stitzers (Carell’s character in that movie) has become something of an active social problem. According to the Japan Times, “A 2010 survey by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research found that around a quarter of unmarried Japanese men in their 30s were still virgins — even leading to the coining of a specific term, yaramiso, to describe them.”

For anyone who is not in that position, the heartache of being in such a situation, a fully grown adult with little experience to draw on and few prospects to look forward to, can be a devastating psychological toll of failure. One 49-year-old whose name was withheld in the Japan Times article felt romantic and sexual feelings for a woman only twice in his life, and both times the woman in question rejected him. “It was devastating,” he said. “It seemed to invalidate my life and take away my reason to live.”

Shingo Sakatsume and his Virgin Academia textbook.
Statistics for a straightforward comparison across international boundaries are scarce, but a superficial look at the numbers suggests that the Japanese do have less sex than most western countries. For instance, a poll conducted by Durex found that 68 percent of Japanese respondents of the ages of 18 and 19 were virgins, whereas the typical figure for Germany was closer to 20 percent, in Turkey 37 percent.

To help alleviate this problem, Shingo Sakatsume, whose company White Hands specializes in finding ways for “people with severe disabilities find an outlet for their sexual needs,” has turned his attention to what he can do for those who are sexually frustrated for more parochial reasons. His motto is “Sexual maturity means social maturity. ... Even if the person has disabilities, one who recognizes and accepts his own sexuality tends to be able to build balanced relations with others. ... People who are not sexually mature tend to get timid socially.”

Sakatsume’s program for adult virgins has been dubbed “Virgin Academia.” One of the main tools for helping such men has been art classes, pictured here, with live models—without clothes on—in order to help them get more familiar with the female body. As Takashi Sakai, a 41-year-old virgin, commented, “The first time I did this, in autumn last year, oh . . . I was so amazed. Their bodies are incredibly beautiful. ... One thing I learned is that there are many different shapes of breasts and even genitals.”

As Sarah Cascone of Artnet reports, “The correspondence course comes with a 100-page textbook, Virgin Breaker!, and runs for a full year, with participants keeping a counselor apprised of their progress in their efforts to meet women.” Cascone continues: “The figure drawing sessions, which take place every other month in Tokyo, allows the yaramiso to encounter a naked woman in a neutral environment, free of romance and pressure to perform sexually.”

Here’s a report from AFP News Agency about the yaramiso phenomenon:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Meiko Kaji and the ass-kicking female gangs of the ‘Stray Cat Rock’ films, 1970-71
10:10 am


Meiko Kaji
Stray Cat Rock

Stray Cat Rock
During the early 1970s, Nikkatsu Studios out of Japan released a series of youth films that helped define an era. Very much of their time, the five motion pictures that make up the Stray Cat Rock cycle were inspired by the late ‘60s counterculture. Amidst a backdrop of psychedelic imagery, the characters represent Japan’s wayward youth, juvenile delinquents hell-bent on living life on their own terms, stealing, drugging, and fighting along the way.
psychedelic imagery
on the road
knife fight
Two different filmmakers were at the helm for the series. Yasuharu Hasebe directed Delinquent Girl Boss (1970), Sex Hunter (1970), and Machine Animal (1971), all of which focused on gangs—especially the ass-kicking, female sort—and organized crime. Toshiya Fujita was behind the camera for Wild Jumbo and Beat ‘71, films that, while still featuring unlawful and violent behavior, are really about youth enjoying life.
Machine Animal
The young women of ‘Machine Animal’; Meiko Kaji, center

The Stray Cat Rock cycle represent the breakout films of Meiko Kaji. She would achieve her greatest fame starring in Lady Snowblood (1973), a film which, decades later, proved to be a major influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003).
Beat '71
Meiko Kaji in ‘Beat ‘71’

On July 14th, Arrow Video will release the five Stray Cat Rock flicks as a limited edition boxed set. This will mark the North American debut of all the films in the Blu-ray format.

We’ve selected a clip for you, dear reader, one you’re sure to enjoy. It’s from the fourth installment, Sex Hunter, and features a female gang on a mission to rescue fellow members from a party gone wrong. Led by Meiko Kaji’s character, Mako, the young women show up armed with a surprise for the captors.
Sex HunterMeiko Kaji in ‘Sex Hunter’

Preorder the limited edition Stray Cat Rock Blu-ray/DVD boxed set via MVD or Amazon. Probably best to get yours sooner rather than later, if demand for the 2014 UK version is any indication, as its already out-of-print.

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
The wild wild world of Japanese rebel biker culture
02:50 pm

Pop Culture


Former bosozuku leader, Kazuhiro Hazuki

“I was interested in them because they were punks and they were against society.”—Kazuhiro Hazuki, Narushino Specter gang

Back in the 1970s the term bōsōzoku (or “speed tribes”) was first used to describe Japanese biker gangs that routinely fought in the streets with rival gangs and the police. Often dressed like Kamikaze pilots, the bōsōzoku wreaked havoc speeding through the streets on their illegally modified bikes, blowing through red lights, and smashing the car windows of any motorist that dared defy them with baseball bats. Foreigners were an especially favorite target of the bōsōzoku’s aggression.
Bosozuku photo from a Japanese biker magazine with modified bike and helmet
Bōsōzoku biker with illegally modified bike and helmet (taken from a Japanese biker magazine)
Bosozuku bikers, 1970's
Bōsōzoku bikers, 1970’s
Bosozuku biker with his bike and bat, 1980's
Bōsōzoku biker, 1980’s
Bosozuku biker with bike and bat
The earliest incarnation of the bōsōzoku, the kaminari zoku, appeared in the 1950’s. Not unlike their idols from the films, The Wild Ones or Rebel Without a Cause, the group was formed by the youthful and disenchanted members of Japan’s proletariat, and the gang provided a place for the emerging delinquents to call their own. A fiercely disciplined and rebellious group, the bōsōzoku once boasted more than 40,000 members. By 2003 the bōsōzoku’s numbers had dwindled to just over 7000. According to first-hand accounts from former senior members, the modern version of the bōsōzoku (known as Kyushakai) no longer embody the rebel spirit of their predecessors. In fact, some have returned to homaging their rockabilly idols by donning elaborate Riizentos, a style of pompadour synonymous with disobedience. These days many ex-bōsōzoku parade around on their bikes in non-disruptive groups and enjoy dancing, performing music and socializing in groups in Harajuku, an area well known for its outrageous fashion.
Harajuku Black Shadow dancers (ex-bosozuku), 2008
Harajuku Black Shadow dancers (ex-bōsōzoku), hanging out in Harajuku, 2008
Ex-Bosozuku hanging out in Harajuku, 2008
Many factors are to blame for the demise of the traditional bosozuku. A former leader of from the Narushino Specter gang in the 90s (and one time Yakuza loan shark), Kazuhiro Hazuki recalls that the police were once content to allow the bōsōzoku to run riot and no matter how many times they were arrested, a gang member never had their license revoked. Over the years, revised traffic laws have led to a rise in the arrest and prosecution of the bōsōzoku. Some also point to the inclusion of women as bōsōzoku riders, now a common sight in Japan, and a less than robust economy (many bōsōzoku bikes can cost as much as ten grand) for the drastic reduction in the gang’s numbers.
Modern day Bosozuku
Modern-day bōsōzoku
Bosozuku biker girl
Modern Kyushakai bikers
Modern Kyushakai bikers
If this post has piqued your interest of vintage Japanese biker culture, there are several documentaries and films based on the bōsōzoku and other speed tribes in Japan, such as 1976’s God Speed You! Black Emperor, 2012’s Sayonara Speed Tribes, a short documentary that features historical perspective from the aforementioned Kazuhiro Hazuki, or the series of films from director Teruo Ishii based on the bōsōzoku that began in 1975 with, Detonation! Violent Riders. If you are a fan of Japanese anime, the story told in the cult film Akira deeply parallels the real world of the bōsōzoku in their heyday. Many images of the bōsōzoku of the past and their mind-boggling motorcycles follow.
Bosozuku biker, early 1970's
Bōsōzoku biker, early 1970’s
More after the jump…

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Teenage Wasteland: Photos of rebellious youth in Japan, 1964
12:15 pm

Pop Culture


I thought I’d share these absolutely stunning photos of the decidedly wilder side of Japanese youth culture circa 1964. The images, taken by LIFE photographer Michael Rougier, document “one Japanese generation’s age of revolt.”

From the 1964 issue of LIFE:

All through that past, a sense of connection with the old traditions and authority has kept Japanese children obedient and very close to the family. This sense still controls most of Japan’s youth who besiege offices and factories for jobs and the universities for education and gives the whole country an electric vitality and urgency. But as its members run away from the family and authority, this generation in rebellion grows.

The photos have a very raw, punky energy, if you will, for 1964. If you’re curious about who the band that everyone is rocking out to, they were called the Tokyo Beatles. I’ve added a YouTube clip of their cover of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” at the bottom so you can get an idea to what the kids are freaking out about in some of these evocative photos.




More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Move over Tom of Finland, macho Japanese gay comic art is soooooo hot right now
04:28 pm



Watch out Tom of Finland, there’s a new milieu of gay nationalist iconography in town! Massive is a new brand producing clothing, accessories, art and original and translated books centered on gay manga—meaning Japanese comic books celebrating bears, bears and more bears! I’m generally of the opinion that pin-up art has jumped the shark, but these manly men are just as delightful as they are niche—sort an army of Bettie Gay-ge’s!

The art itself is really charming: sophisticated, without being pretentious or self-important. Japanese artist Jiraiya comments on his work for the the sweatshirt above:

These two guys have the same muscle mass, but I’d guess different body fat percentages. In my opinion, they’re a perfect couple. But if they fight, their house will be partially destroyed.

And how!

I don’t know about you, but much I’d rather wear this than one of those bland, now ubiquitous American Apparel “Legalize Gay” shirts. Between that jumper and my Hüsker Dü tee, bear culture will always have a place in my wardrobe… but never in the closet!



More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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