is a Sino-Japanese term meaning tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

, clan, or family. As a suffix it has been used extensively within Japan to define subcultural phenomena, though many zoku do not acquire the suffix (e.g. cosplay
, short for "costume play", is a type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Characters are often drawn from popular fiction in Japan, but recent trends have included American cartoons and science fiction...


A zoku may be labeled with a Japanese stem (e.g. kaminari zoku) or a foreign language (gairaigo
Gairaigo is Japanese for "loan word" or "borrowed word", and indicates a transliteration into Japanese. In particular, the word usually refers to a Japanese word of foreign origin that was not borrowed from Chinese, primarily from English. Japanese also has a large number of loan words from...

) stem (e.g. saike zoku, where saike comes from "psychedelic").

As with the usual practice elsewhere, subcultures in Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 have almost certainly been labeled by an outsider to the group, often an influential person in the media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...



Subcultures that emerged in the early post-war decades include the "motorcycle-riding Thunder Tribe (kaminarizoku), the amplified-music-loving Electric Tribe (erekizoku), and the Psychedelic Tribe (saikezoku)."

Although zoku was applied to others in society, like senior citizens, salarymen
refers to someone whose income is salary based; particularly those working for corporations. Its frequent use by Japanese corporations, and its prevalence in Japanese manga and anime has gradually led to its acceptance in English-speaking countries as a noun for a Japanese white-collar...

, and political activists (e.g. Uyoku dantai
Uyoku dantai
Uyoku dantai are Japanese nationalist right-wing groups.In 1996, the National Police Agency estimated that there are over 1000 right wing groups in Japan with about 100,000 members in total.-Tennō period:...

), it was mostly used to label youth subcultures.

Shintaro Ishihara
Shintaro Ishihara
is a Japanese author, actor, politician and the governor of Tokyo since 1999.- Early life and artistic career :Shintarō was born in Suma-ku, Kobe. His father Kiyoshi was an employee, later a general manager, of a shipping company. Shintarō grew up in Zushi...

's 1950s novel Season of the Sun
Season of the Sun
is a Japanese novel written in 1955 by the current Governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara. It is the source of the name of the rebellious, taiyozoku youth culture which emerged after World War II...

gave rise to a reckless and carefree expression of youth which became stylised in subsequent films as taiyo zoku (sun tribe). This subculture had some parallels with the rocker and greaser subcultures being promoted by Hollywood films such as Rebel without a Cause
Rebel Without a Cause
Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American drama film about emotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers. Directed by Nicholas Ray, it offered both social commentary and an alternative to previous films depicting delinquents in urban slum environments...

. Traditional Japanese considered the post-war taiyo zoku violent and promiscuous. Some Japanese youths admired American music, and Japanese Bill Haley
Bill Haley
Bill Haley was one of the first American rock and roll musicians. He is credited by many with first popularizing this form of music in the early 1950s with his group Bill Haley & His Comets and their hit song "Rock Around the Clock".-Early life and career:...

 clones were known as rokabiri zoku (the rockabilly
Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, dating to the early 1950s.The term rockabilly is a portmanteau of rock and hillbilly, the latter a reference to the country music that contributed strongly to the style's development...


At the height of the hippy movement and the psychedelic
The term psychedelic is derived from the Greek words ψυχή and δηλοῦν , translating to "soul-manifesting". A psychedelic experience is characterized by the striking perception of aspects of one's mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ostensibly...

 age in the 1960s, the futen zoku or vagabond tribe emerged in the Shinjuku area of Japan. Japanese media depicted them as dangerous because of their substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

 and their public presence. More recreational drug users who patronized clubs and coffee shops were known as danmo zoku.


A 1970s Japanese punk movement was known as karasu zoku (crow tribe) because they wore black clothing and accessories. Young women readers of the 1970s magazines "an an" and "non no" were known as the an-non zoku.

In the 1980s, fashion became mixed with music and dance in the form of the takenoko-zoku
Takenoko-zoku Takenoko-zoku Takenoko-zoku (竹の子族, lit. "bamboo shoot tribe")describes a type of dance group active from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s in Tokyo, especially in Harajuku. The teenagers, mainly girls but often with one boy leading, were colorfully dressed and danced in a distinctive...

or (bamboo-shoot tribe). This subculture was named after a boutique in Harajuku
Harajuku is the common name for the area around Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo, Japan....

. Roppongi
is a district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan, famous as home to the rich Roppongi Hills area and an active night club scene. Many foreign embassies are located in Roppongi, and the night life is popular with locals and foreigners alike...

, Ginza
is a district of Chūō, Tokyo, located south of Yaesu and Kyōbashi, west of Tsukiji, east of Yūrakuchō and Uchisaiwaichō, and north of Shinbashi.It is known as an upscale area of Tokyo with numerous department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses. Ginza is recognized as one of the most...

, and Harajuku have been centers of Japanese popular culture
Japanese popular culture
Japanese popular culture not only reflects the attitudes and concerns of the present but also provides a link to the past. Japanese cinema, cuisine, television programs, manga, and music all developed from older artistic and literary traditions, and many of their themes and styles of presentation...

, and many zoku have been named after sites in these localities.

Another very significant group of the 1980s was the kurisutaru zoku (crystal tribe), which were branded a social group after the success of the novel Nantonaku Kurisutaru (Somewhat Crystal). This label applied to youth who were swept up in the freedoms of the economic boom of the 1980s and became materialistic and conscious of their image, much like yuppie
Yuppie is a term that refers to a member of the upper middle class or upper class in their 20s or 30s. It first came into use in the early-1980s and largely faded from American popular culture in the late-1980s, due to the 1987 stock market crash and the early 1990s recession...

s. They have been contrasted with the rougher groups that had existed since the 1950s.

The Hanako zoku of the late 1980s was associated with a popular magazine for young women called Hanako
Hanako (magazine)
Hanako is a Japanese magazine for young women, published by Magazine House since 1988. It features shops, fashion, restaurants and theaters in Tokyo and abroad...


Street and racing tribes

  • Bōsō zoku
    is a Japanese subculture associated with motorcycle clubs and gangs.-Traits and history:The word bōsōzoku is also applied to motorcycle gangs, who share an interest in modifications for motorcycles, such as removing the mufflers so that more noise is produced...

    : motorcycle gang
  • Dorifuto zoku: Drifting
    Drifting (motorsport)
    Drifting refers to a driving technique and to a motorsport where the driver intentionally over steers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels through turns, while maintaining vehicle control and a high exit speed...

  • Kaminari zoku: (雷族 "Thunder Tribe") early name for Bōsō zoku
  • Rolling zoku: Off-road variety of Bōsō zoku
  • Roulette zoku (also circuit zoku): Circular-highway racing
    Street racing
    Street racing is a form of unsanctioned and illegal motor racing which takes place on public roads. Street racing can either be spontaneous or well-planned and coordinated. Well coordinated races are planned in advance and often have people communicating via 2-way radio/citizens' band radio and...

  • Vanning zoku: Van-driving tribe (van owning youths who install massive sound systems)
  • Zeroyon zoku: 0-4 tribe (racers who use 400m straight-track roads)


  • Bara zoku: Rose tribe (gay subculture in Japan)
  • Danchi zoku: Unit tribe (white collar apartment dwellers)
  • Dobunezumi zoku: Sewer rat tribe (company employees in dull clothing)
  • Figure moe zoku
    Figure moe zoku
    is a Japanese term which refers to "Otaku who collect figurines". Japanese journalist Akihiro Ōtani claimed that this group was composed of potential criminals. Originally, the term wasn't related to lolicon, but instead to agalmatophilia, since the figurines were not alive.-Summary:In Japan, the...

    : Otaku
    is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime, manga or video games.- Etymology :Otaku is derived from a Japanese term for another's house or family , which is also used as an honorific second-person pronoun...

     who collect figurines
  • Ereki zoku: Electric Guitar Tribe
  • Hodo-Hodo zoku: Employees who avoid promotion to minimize stress and maximize free time
  • Hotaru zoku: Firefly tribe (smokers on their smoking break)
  • Hashi-nashi zoku: Chopstickless tribe (foreign tourists who cannot use chopsticks)
  • Madogiwa zoku: Window-seat tribe (older, redundant employees who are retained by companies)
  • Nure ochiba zoku: Wet leaf tribe (clingy retired salarymen) from
  • Shinkansenjoso zoku: Bullet train
    Bullet train
    Bullet train may refer to:* The Shinkansen high speed trains of Japan, so nicknamed for their appearance and speed* Other high speed trains of a similar appearance to the original Japanese trains...

     girl tribe (crossdressers)
  • Sumaafu zoku: Smurf tribe (obscure Japanese specialty workers)
  • Yuri zoku: Lily tribe (the lesbian equivalent of bara zoku)
  • Zoku-giin: Policy tribes (many Japanese political factions are also suffixed with zoku)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.