Most Westerners have a naive and stereotypical view of Japanese culture, erroneously assuming hoards of conservative businessmen bustling along the crowded streets of Tokyo under flashing digital billboards. And somewhere in the Westerner’s descriptive imagination, ‘Hello Kitty’, ‘Karaoke bars’, and ‘Sony’ are exhaustively referenced.
In fact, the truth is not only surprising, but pleasantly jaw-dropping.
Japan is no longer a monolithic culture (in fact, it never truly has been) where uniformity reigns. Although the conservative Japanese office culture, whose members are known as ‘Sararīman‘ (or Salaryman), still predominates and punctuates Tokyo’s congested Metropolitan area, citizens throughout the nation are expressing themselves in a variety of ways and directly challenging the conventional norms of acceptable behavior and appearance.
One example is a vibrant customized car subculture that originates in underworld towns like Kabukicho where loud bōsōzoku motorcycle gangs and blinged-out Lamborghinis driven by Yakuza bosses glitter the streets. This customization; however, is taken to a level seldom seen in the states. Everything from flashing, muliti-colored LED lights, intricate artwork, to holographic vinyl wraps are brilliantly displayed during boastful evening rides.
Here’s another video produced by Maiham Media documenting Japan’s underworld and car subculture.