CC Global: Bosozoku-style

Mad Manga 1

Christmas shopping inevitably yields the ‘present for myself’ when perusing the options for my nephews. This year I found this Hot Wheels version of a barely recognisable Nissan Laurel, ‘Mad Manga’. I’ve been coming across images of these sort of customisations when researching articles on Japanese cars, so it’s time for an encapsulated look at the sub-cult named ‘Bosozoku-style’.

bosozoku bike

The term ‘Bosozoku’–translated as ‘violent speed tribes’–derives from post WWII Japanese motorbike culture. Kat Callahan at Jalopnik writes a great article on them, and to quote:

‘They drive up and down the streets of both major metropolitan areas and smaller cities revving motors, honking horns, swerving in and out of traffic, swinging tubular weapons, yelling at pedestrians and motorists, damaging property, and essentially being a menace to anyone and everyone they encounter.’


One aspect of Bosozoku is a distinctive style of bike customisation which appears to have become more and more outlandish. And at some point the look started to make its way onto cars.

bosozoku_43 gives an overview of the various styles that broadly comprise this aesthetic; Shakotan, Yanky-style, VIP style, Kyusha-style, Grachan and culminating in Bosozoku-style–a style of itself (above). Bosozoku-style cars are not necessarily owned by affiliated gang members.


Manga/anime clearly has an influence on Bosozoku-style, as do Group 5 silhouette racers.


There appears to be no fixed set of requirements for Bosozoku-style, but these cars invariably feature long slab-like front appendages, flared wheel arches, over-length exhaust pipes thrust out at insanely-skewed angles and oversized rear spoilers. The above style of hood extension is called ‘shark-nose’.


Issues around practicality are obviously not a consideration for these vehicles. Driving this one at speed would probably result in a Mark-Webber-Le-Mans-type experience.


Bosozoku-style appears to be not just restricted to bikes and cars. I’m looking at this picture wondering just how that van can move over any surface that’s not billiard-table flat.


This is the first I’ve seen with actual damage to the custom-work, seen at the front edge. Are these things transported by trailer? Are they are road-registerable? Do the appendages and exhausts come off for storage in a garage?

Mad Manga 2

Like the donk, Bosozoku-style is not to my taste. But still, it’s interesting. And as CC is about the diversity of car culture, any informed knowledge about these cars is certainly appreciated.