The story of a brutal motorbike gang that causes Japanese people to refuse to own a motorbike


Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Most motorbike manufacturers in the world come from Japan. Call it Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and so on. Even though there are many companies that create motorbikes, what's interesting is that two-wheeled vehicles are rare in Japan.

Statistically, Statista (2021) states that there are only 10 million motorbikes in Japan. This figure is small because Japan's population reaches 125 million. So why does this happen?

In the beginning, Japanese people liked to buy motorbikes. In the 1950s the motorbike industry in Japan was very successful. Thanks to the efforts of innovator Narazo Shimaru, motorbikes became a bargain. However, in the 1980s there was a big change caused by the emergence of public sentiment towards reckless motorbikes.


“The 1980s were the heyday of motorbikes in Japan. However, around 20 years ago, a strong rejection of the culture of riding motorbikes suddenly emerged,” said Triumph Motorcycles Japan President Kazuo Noda, to the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, quoted on Wednesday. (22/5/2024).

This strong rejection cannot be separated from the presence of the Bosozoku group. Literally, Bosozoku is a motorcycle gang from Japan whose members are youth aged 16-20 years. They emerged as a result of the proliferation of two-wheeled vehicles. Their characteristic is that they often ride motorbikes en masse and modify them into various models.

In local media reports, Jalopnik, it is known that since appearing in the 1970s, Bosozoku often throw tantrums. They often honk their horns, brandish weapons, shout at pedestrians and other motorists, damage property, and disturb other members of the public.

In fact, they also often commit crimes outside of motorbike riding. One of the former Bosozoku, Shotaro Nagasawa, testified to the Japan Times that he often got into fights, whether while driving or not.

“Fighting, bloodshed and near-death incidents seem to haunt the teenager (Shotaro) wherever he goes,” wrote the Japanese media.

On this basis, Japan Times calls Bosozoku a form of teenage acquaintance in Japan. Moreover, this group has also been proven to be close to the Yakuza criminal group. In short, Bosozoku is a 'thorn in the flesh' in the fabric of Japanese society which is known for being polite, polite and orderly living. The police always fail to deal with their actions. Residents are also worried.

As a result, an association emerged, all motorbike riders are part of the Bosozoku, which often throws tantrums. As a result, sentiments and stereotypes were born towards two-wheeled riders which were then believed by the wider community. However, not everyone acts criminally. From here, in search of safety, motorbikes began to be rarely used and bought by people.

The emergence of this sentiment then continued for years, causing people's views on motorbikes to change. Moreover, when traveling, motorbikes or even cars are no longer considered important by Japanese citizens. This happens because they have a good transportation system and live within the confines of complicated vehicle ownership regulations.

Until now, Bosozoku still exists on a small scale. Even so, report Japan Times In 2022, motorbike users in Japan began to creep up. In the first semester of 2022, sales of motorbikes with 251 cc engines rose 32% to 51,035 units.

This could happen because many residents started spending a lot of time outside the home after the pandemic. One way is to ride a motorbike because you can get it faster than a car.

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(mfa/mfa)