Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Invasion of the Rockabilly Dancers of Tokyo!!!

Takenoko-zoku once ruled Harajuku but during the last decade they were driven off by the police and later replaced by a younger crowd of goth lolita girls.

Some diehards still get together and dance away to old rock-n-roll tunes.

Music by:
The Exotic Ones

May 15, 2008 Posted by | 1950s, Blogroll, culture, dance, entertainment, greasers, Harajuku, japan, japanese culture, life, rockabilly, takenoko-zoku, tokyo, travel, video, youtube | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo’s Rockabilly Dancers of Harajuku Park

Tokyo’s Rockabilly Dancers of Harajuku Park
The last of the old takenoko-zoku group still rocks away

Tokyo rockabilly dancers of Harajuku Park.

Tokyo’s Harajuku Park has become internationally famous over recent years mainly for its collection of high school students decked out in wild Goth outfits and makeup. Just about every Sunday they can be found sitting around in groups with their similarly attired peers coolly ignoring the camera flashes exploding all about them.

One of the current Harajuku Park denizens.

But they were not always there. Before them, a more active and lively group ruled the park with a leather-gloved fist. They didn’t sit around chatting or trying to brood darkly. They moved and swayed to the beat of good old rock ‘n’ roll.

Takenoko-zoku were once a familiar sight in Harajuku.

They were the takenoko-zoku or bamboo shoot kids. They were named so because they just sprang up sometime in the ’80s. One group went in for the ’50s-style look of leather jackets, pompadours, slicked back hair, white T-shirts and blue jeans. Basically, they looked like extras from a Japanese production of “Grease.”

Every Sunday these rockers danced or rocked out with their local bands. Harajuku grooved to an old-time beat for many years … until one fateful day.

It’s never really been explained to anyone’s satisfaction why the authorities felt the takenoko-zoku were such a menace to Japanese society. But in the mid-’90s the police showed up in force and drove off all the rockers, greasers, twisters and bump-n-grinders.

Into the vacuum trickled the goth Lolita crowd. Far weirder but quieter they slowly took over the former territory of the takenoko-zoku and became its main attraction in time.

When the old takenoko-zoku were driven off, a weirder crowd replaced them.

Goth maids took the place of bobby sox girls.

A block over from their old stomping grounds at the entrance of Yoyogi Park, some of the rockabilly takenoko-zoku still gather to rock the Sunday away. The last of a dying breed, they resist change and do what they have done for years — dance.

Rock on!

Yeah, daddy-o!

May 15, 2008 Posted by | 1950s, Blogroll, culture, dance, entertainment, Goth Girls, Harajuku, japan, life, rock, rockabilly, takenoko-zoku, tokyo, travel | 10 Comments