PASMAG TE Japan Book 2 JDM Terms

Although most PASMAG readers will have a fairly good understanding, there’s no denying that the term b?s?zoku and the many subcultures that link to it can be confusing, and there might be different definitions of each, depending on who you speak to. While we could fill pages with all the different labels and sub-sets, let’s take a brief look at the most commonly referenced terms.

Bosozoku: Although some people complain about the term’s misuse, you could consider “Bosozoku” an overarching description of the lifestyle, the bikes and the cars, and while that wouldn’t be 100 percent accurate, it’s not far off. Bosozoku more specifically refers to the bike gangs/clubs that saw a huge upswing in membership during the ‘70s and ‘80s, and practiced a philosophy that can best be described as “f**k society, and f**k the cops.” Though these groups, like the famous Specter and Black Emperor clubs, were often considered part of a feeder system into the big leagues - the Yakuza - the clubs were and still are about the great love for the machinery that helped formed life-long bonds.

PASMAG TE Japan Book 2 Zokusha
Zokusha
: Zokusha would be a better way to describe what someone might call a Bosozoku-style car. The term came about as thanks to the Bosozoku’s tendency to modify their cars as they would their bikes - loud, outlandish and extremely in your face. So the term Zokusha simply means “gang car.” or more literally “tribe car.”

PASMAG TE Japan Book 2 Kyusha
Kyusha: The word ‘kyusha’ in Japanese simply means ‘old car,’ so this can refer to any nostalgic or classic car – modified or not.

PASMAG TE Japan Book 2 Shakotan
Shakotan
: The term ‘shakotan’ translates as “low-down”and can refer to both a car’s ride height, and the specific style of car, which usually describes ‘80s era cars with stock or subtle fenders, super-low ride height and mega stretched tires (hippari) over small-diameter, but very wide wheels.

PASMAG TE Japan Book 2 Gurachan
Gurachan: Gurachan or Granchan is a term used to describe cars, usually of the ‘70s and ‘80s vintage, that have been styled to resemble the grand championship Super Silhouette racers of the era. That means super-wide, boxy fenders, big body kits and small, wide race-style wheels. This could be considered one step below the all-out crazy that are ‘Kaido Racers.'

PASMAG TE Japan Book 2 KaidoRacer
Kaido Racer: Kaido Racer is a term that is not used very much anymore, but it simply means “highway racer” and describes the all-out, over-the-top crazy machines that you’ve no doubt seen videos of on YouTube, with their massive mile-long front splitters, huge fenders and wings and ridiculous exhaust pipes, known as takeyari. You tend to see a lot of people mocking these cars and their builders online, but people fail to understand that these people aren’t taking themselves seriously - it’s not as though the guys in this scene don’t know the cars are way over the top - that’s why they do it!

Contributor: Peter Kelly

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