Rockers: Tokyo Rollerzoku Gangs
Project info

Among Japan’s many fashion tribes, one of the less explored is the
Roller-zoku. For over 30 years the Roller-zoku have been borrowing
greaser styles, gathering together for loud Rock n’Roll music, and
sporting leather, denim and big greased up pompadours called regents. Foreigners
often associate them with the group of Roller-zoku seen in Yoyogi
park every Sunday but this tribe can be found all over Tokyo. The
Roller-zoku have grown from the roots of both 50’s & 60’s Rock n’
Roll and Rockabilly because Japanese record labels did not
differentiate between these musical categories at the time of their
introduction.

Japan experienced the popularity of these early Rock n’ Roll styles
as did much of the world at that time, but it was the revival in
the late 70’s that brought the fashions still associated with the
Roller-zoku. Japanese bands like the Cools and Carol were at the
forefront of this musical revival and began associating themselves
with leather jackets, greased back hair and motorcycles.

Unlike many other fashion tribes these Greasers are often all ages
from the young to the old. An interesting aspect of this tribe is
some members predilection for dancing, which can be seen being
practiced in Tokyo parks on weekends. Much like early Hip Hop was
associated with breakdancing, Roller-zoku have their own brand of
dancing, incorporating classic rock n’ roll dancing as well as
intricate footwork, acrobatics, and theatricality.

This portrait series was created in Tokyo over 5 weeks in 2013 and
2015, shooting at parks, parties, bars and music venues.