I see quite a topics relating to motorcycles and motorcycling in Japan, that this forum has had from time to time motorcycling members and know of Gaijinriders.com but am not a member.
Although this topic is in "Transportation", within the motorcycling worlds I knew there always used to be a divide between those that used motorcycles as simple transport or as a hobby, e.g. rallyists, and those for whom motorcycling was a lifestyle and their bike an expression of their personality and a symbol of their 'tribal' association.
We used to divide it approximately between 'motorcycle enthusiasts' and bikers, and over the decades different kind of biker cultures arose primarily split, I would say, between:
American style outlaw or backpatch clubs - based mainly around Harleys and chops
European stye street motorcycling, e.g. cafe racers and streetfighters - based mainly around race style bikes and going fast round corners
Sports motorcyclists - who did it 'off road' ... oh, and
'Goldwing riders' - who kind of existed in a separate stereophonically cocooned dimension from everyone else
From those categories one has various different 'ranks' and minor-subcultures based very much on the bikes they rode, e.g. choppers, old school greasers/bobbers, English-style rockers, superbikers and in Japan the Bosos, their precusors the kaminarizoku, all of which, in this wonderfully communicative age we live in, have cross borders internationally and cross fertillized.
Speaking personally, my biking background lies somewhere between the first two categories. Those of you 'in the known' might remember the old 'Iron Horse' magazine. I enjoyed it a lot. In Europe, many of the European stye street bikers "grow old disgracefully" and morph into American style backpatch clubs and most of the big clubs made it over the Atlantic. Whereas I enjoy the scene and lifestyle, I don't find the idea of dying in someone else's drug war (cough, ... allegedly) particularly attractive ... and I still like going round corners fast.
I grew up, went straight into biking in my teenages and have held an unlimited license for my entire adult life and am not a "weekend warrior" late adopter, remember the moment Harley actually released a motorcycle that ordinary folks could actually buy ride without having filthy fingernails, and CNC machines were invented, and what an effect it had on the scene. I also worked within the industry on two continents and in a speedshop.
Coming to Japan I am really impressed by the biking scene I have seen here ... and particularly the roads even if the speed limits, or lack thereof, is likely to get me into expensive trouble. I see a very healthy old school chopper/bobber style scene. I see English-style rockers/cafe racers. Retro. I see an impressive amount of young and not so young women riding their own bikes of all sizes. Its own unique speedway racing (Auto Race). A load of hairy bikers doing long roadtrips ... with the advantage of an onsen at the end of it!!!. And we all know Japanese engineers now make and chop some of the coolest and fastest motorcycles in all departments.
The only thing they cannot do is build a Harley but they sure as hell can chop them. Their metal work is the certainly to my taste.
Point in question
I was wondering if anyone had any experience with the Japanese patch club scene?
It is obvious that there are plenty of factory style (HOG) or 'mom and pop' types clubs, but I also see around quite a few mock outlaw Easyrider style clubs, i.e. the 'Vibes' scene. Last year ... being a White Japanese (!) ... I had hoped to get up to the 'Yamato Spirit Rally' but could not make it. This spring I am expecting a big pay day and am thinking of getting back into it all.
It strikes me the Japanese scene has all of the fun and advantages of the club scene elsewhere, but very fews of the disadvantages, e.g. the likelihood of being shot.
I love the authenticity of old movies and found this ... "Godspeed you, Black Emperor", Mitsuo Yanagimachi. I made me feel young again. A 1976 Japanese B&W 16 mm documentary film about a Japanese biker gang called the Black Emperors. The movie follows a member and his interaction with his parents, after he gets in trouble with the police. (sub-titled)
Over the years I have seen a few photoshoots/documentaries about the Bosos, and even Boso girl gangs. I wonder how they all grew up too?