Apr 03 2014

Japan’s Bosozoku gang girls

Category: Japanese GirlsIchiban @ 1:00 pm

Tattoos and talons: Inside the world of Japan’s Bosozoku gang girls where the women are just as bad ass as the men

  • Bosozoku is a Japanese sub-culture whose members flout rules of  road
  • Women who join the gang customise gets the usual tattoos and bikes
  • But they have brought their own feminine style with flowers and manicures 

Original article:



They have tattoos, uniforms and the obligatory high-powered machines which mark them out as members of a biker gang.

But these women are as likely to show off their brilliantly coloured talons as their tats and favour bikes festooned with flowers and painted an attractive shade of pink.

In fact, the Bosozoku girls of Japan have rejuvenated a sub-culture that has been in rapid decline since the 1980s.


Bosozuku (‘violent run tribe’) consists of biker gangs which rebel against the strict rules of Japanese cultural in favour of a life on the road.

Also known as the ‘kaminari zoku’ (thunder tribes) when it began in the 1950s, the group focuses on disrupting traffic in any way possible including running red lights, driving recklessly including speeding and traffic weaving, illegally modifying their bikes and ignoring noise restrictions.

Members are traditionally characterised by their modified motorcycles which often include elements from American choppers and British café racer style bikes, as well as their elaborate costumes.

Typically, traditional outfits resemble kamikaze or samurai style jumpsuits, with gang names, mottos and defining symbols and pictures embellished on the back.

Otherwise, retro pilot boots, long overcoats and matching pants style which were a custom of the 70s Bosozoku fashion, derived from a combination of old kamikaze and  US Navy uniforms.

The Bosozoku girls bring their own style to gang fashion, however.


Long, multi coloured, pointed nails, bright pink and red bikes adorned with stickers and painted pictures while still maintaining luscious long shiny hair, glossed lips and the typical tattoo.

The women of these Japanese gangs say they are breaking away from gender stereotypes by challenging the domestic roles expected of women in modern Japan.

In their own words, they are all about proving that ‘Japanese women can wipe their own ass’.

Many of the female members were introduced to the gang culture from ex partners before deciding they wanted to ride as well, the video explains.

The gang’s activities are focused on road disruptions: running red lights, driving recklessly including speeding and traffic weaving, illegally modifying their bikes and ignoring noise restrictions, particularly when modifying their bikes.

But they have also been linked to gang violence. 

The girls are also out to prove that the subculture is not a dying one, despite Japanese National Police Agency reports stating that the number of recognized Bosozoku members nationwide, hit a record low of 7,297 in 2012.

This is down from the recorded 42,500 members at the subculture’s peak in 1982, according to the Japan Times.

The reduction in member numbers is considered to be a result of a police crackdown and subsequent road traffic law revisions in 2004, which gave more power to police.

Motorcycle gang members are so used to evading police, whom will target riders just for wearing a identifiable Bosozoku uniform, that members bikes are designed to help lose police cars in a chase.

For this reason, handlebars are bent downward and inward in order to allow riders to weave between traffic, the video explains.

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Apr 02 2014

Cherry Blossom Parties

Category: UncategorizedIchiban @ 1:42 pm

Were at their peak today…rain till the weekend. Hopefully the petals will last till the weekend.

Gogendo Park

More photos on our Facebook page



Mar 13 2014

WiFi Rental in Japan

Category: Japan News,Japan RelatedIchiban @ 9:08 am

You arrive in Japan but can’t buy a SIM card to use in your phone?

Don’t worry, you can now rent a pocket WiFi router delivered to your hotel or residence and get online immediately.

Check it out!


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Mar 12 2014

Hikaru Utada to marry Italian

Category: J-pop,Japan Entertainment,Japan NewsIchiban @ 10:35 am

I will be getting married soon.

There has been much talk of Italy, and Apulia especially, in the Japanese press lately. Utada Hikaru, one of Japan’s most famous and beloved pop stars is getting married to an Italian bartender, Francesco Calliano, a native of Fasano, a small town near Brindisi. The two have met in London at the hotel where Calliano works. They will get married in Polignano a Mare, hometown of singer Domenico Modugno (of the famous Volare song), on May 23. “It’s sudden and it makes me chuckle – I’m getting married -
I was thinking of announcing this quietly after the wedding ceremony, but it seems that there are already some rumors circulating so I thought of announcing it now.

I even find it funny how unexpected this is of me, but my partner is Italian. He’s a “regular person”, and I would like to sincerely ask everyone to please refrain from reporting his real name in order to protect his and his family’s safety and his rights to his privacy.

Thank you all for your warm support. And I would like to apologize for making everyone worry so much. He is an honest and sincere man who is loved by many friends. He comes from a large and happy family that seems like it jumped straight out of a manga. I myself am not getting any younger, so I would greatly appreciate it if you could silently look after us.

Hikaru Utada


And… Since I’m still in mourning, I was thinking if I should postpone my marriage. But when I last talked to my mother, I remember her sounding really happy which made me think, “Wow, how many years has it been since I heard my mother sound this happy”. I believe that my mother also gives her support to this marriage, which will make us proceed with the plans according to schedule.


Source: http://www.utadahikaru.jp/from-hikki/both/

31-year-old singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada announced on Monday that she will “very soon” marry an Italian man. She acknowledged that even she laughed a little in surprise over this.

In her blog entry to both fans and the mass media, Utada said that her husband-to-be is a “fine young man sincerely loved by many friends.” He has a “large, cheerful, and bustling family, like one straight out of a manga.” Since her fiancé is not in the entertainment industry, she asked her fans and the media to view her personal life from a respectful distance for privacy’s sake.

Since Utada is still in a mourning period for her late mother Keiko Fuji, she said that she was uncertain whether to delay the upcoming marriage. However, she recalled that when she talked about her fiancé in her last conversation with her mother, her mother’s voice sounded happier than she can remember in years. With that in mind, she believes that she has her mother’s support and decided to go ahead with her marriage as scheduled.

Utada was previously married to Kazuaki Kiriya from 2002 to 2007. Kiriya directed several of her early music videos, as well as the live-action Casshern film which used a track by Utada as its theme song.

Utada is an internationally known, bestselling pop artist born in New York City and raised in Japan and the United States. Her debut album, 1999′s First Love, is still Japan’s bestselling album ever with about 8 million copies sold. Bandai Visual used Utada’s “Kiss & Cry” and “This is Love” songs for the Freedom anime project. Besides the theme song for the live-action Casshern movie remake, Utada also contributed to the live-action Hana Yori Dango 2 television adaptation.

More recently, she provided a 2007 remix of her 2000 cover of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)” for the trailer to Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Jo), as well as her “Beautiful World” song for the anime film itself. She also contributed the “Beautiful World -PLANiTb Acoustica Mix-” for the second film, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can [Not] Advance (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Ha). In addition to her singing career, she played the heroine Pinoko in the 2001-2002 Black Jack net anime series. She toured the United States and the United Kingdom in 2009.

Utada had been on hiatus from the entertainment business since the beginning of 2011, although she returned to host a monthly radio program called Kuma Power Hour with Utada Hikaru on the InterFM station last April. (She did not host last month’s program on January 21 due to health reasons.) She did contribute the song “Sakura Nagashi” as the ending theme for 2012′s Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (Evangelion Shin Gekijō-ban: Q), but her management emphasized that the song did not represent a full-fledged return from her hiatus.

Singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada, 31, revealed on her blog Monday that she plans to marry her 23-year-old Italian fiance on May 23.

In a message to her fans and the media, Utada, whose 1999 multi-million-selling debut record, “First Love,” is one of Japan’s biggest-ever hits, said they are planning to have their wedding ceremony in a church by the sea near Fasano in south Italy.

She said: “I’m getting married soon… This is unexpected even for me and makes me chuckle a bit but my partner is an Italian man. My partner is a sincere, nice man loved by many friends.”

Sports Nippon reported that Utada’s fiance is a bartender working in a hotel in London and the two got to know each other when Utada was staying there. Last summer, he introduced her to his family who live in Fasano.

A local magazine in Fasano, reporting the news, said it was like a fairytale that a Japanese superstar and a normal boy will marry, and predicted that the town will become internationally famous, according to Sports Nippon.

Utada said she decided to go ahead with the wedding despite her mother Keiko Fuji’s death last year in a fall from her 13th-floor Tokyo apartment.

“When I talked about my fiance in my last conversation with my mother, she was so glad, that I thought ‘I’ve not seen my mother this cheerful in many years,’” Utada said.

It will be Utada’s second marriage. She was previously married to photographer Kazuaki Kiriya, 45, in 2002. They divorced in 2007, with the couple citing differences in future vision and communication problems.

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Feb 17 2014

The Yakuza Olympics

Category: Tokyo OlympicsIchiban @ 8:31 am

As originally reported by Jake Adelstein on The Beast

The Yakuza Olympics
All eyes are on Russian corruption and incompetence at Sochi, but new reports have emerged about a likely link between Japanese Olympic officials and Japan’s infamous yakuza. Jake Adelstein reports on possible troubles for 2020.
In September of 2012, the U.S. Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on Japan’s second largest yakuza crime syndicate, the Sumiyoshi-kai and its leaders including Chairman Hareaki Fukuda. The sanctions make it possible to freeze their U.S. assets and block their transactions with American entities. They also forbid any US citizen to fraternize or associate with the group.

Read the full story:

Hidetoshi Tanaka, Japan Olympic Committee Vice Chairman (far left) and Hareaki Fukuda, Sumiyoshi-kai Chairman (far right) taken at the New Otani Hotel in September of 1998 at a celebration of Fukuda’s ascendancy to the Sumiyoshi-kai chairman position

Hidetoshi Tanaka, Japan Olympic Committee Vice Chairman (far left) and Hareaki Fukuda, Sumiyoshi-kai Chairman (far right) taken at the New Otani Hotel in September of 1998 at a celebration of Fukuda’s ascendancy to the Sumiyoshi-kai chairman position

Feb 14 2014

Permanent Residency Visa

Category: Japan NewsIchiban @ 9:20 am

Japan to ease permanent resident conditions for foreign professionals

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The government is considering relaxing requirements for highly skilled foreigners to obtain permanent residency status in Japan as it expects them to help enhance the nation’s international competitiveness, according to government sources.

The government plans to submit a bill to revise the immigration control law to the ordinary Diet session, which convenes Friday, enabling corporate managers as well as highly skilled researchers and professionals to obtain permanent resident visas after three years of residency in Japan instead of the current five years, the sources said.

Under the current system, foreign nationals need more than 10 years of residency in Japan to get permanent residency, but foreigners with high skills need only five years for the status.

The government plans to shorten the required period from five years to three years for researchers studying advanced information technologies and cutting-edge medical technologies, people involved in the development of new materials and top managers of global companies, the sources said.

Around 2.03 million foreign nationals were staying in Japan as of the end of 2012, including about 620,000 permanent residents, according to the Justice Ministry.

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Dec 31 2013

AKB48 Yuko Oshima announces retirement.

Category: J-pop,Japan EntertainmentIchiban @ 2:51 pm


“The 64th Red and White Singing Contest” (December 31st, Tokyo · NHK Hall)
Oshima Yuko (25) of popular idol group · AKB48 has announced her graduation (retirement) to singing before the stage of red and white, roar arose from the hall. She will now most likely pursue her acting career.

Will the band fall apart now with virtually no strong leaders to fill her shoes?

AKB48 Oshima

Yuko Oshima retires














From Wiki:

Yuko Oshima (大島 優子 Ōshima Yūko?, born October 17, 1988 in Tochigi Prefecture) is a member of Japanese idol girl group AKB48, of which she is the captain of Team K.[1] She is also a member of the AKB48 subunit Not Yet. Outside of singles that involved rock-paper-scissors tournaments, she has sung on the title tracks for all of AKB48′s singles since “Aitakatta” in October 2006. She has placed among the top two for the annual AKB48 general elections from 2009-2013. She announced her graduation on December 31st, 2013, during Kōhaku Uta Gassen.




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Dec 26 2013

Thanks to our followers here!

Category: Japan Related,Japanese GirlsIchiban @ 2:48 am

Dear Japanichiban fans,

Thanks for the visits this year, our best year yet.
Even without our forum functioning the site continues to improve its rankings on Alexa.com

Hope you all had a great Christmas and a better New Year in 2014.
Christmas sunset at Sekiyado Castle with Mt. Fuji to the left 200km away.











Feeling a little lonely? Get yourself a new partner to bring in the New Year! —>Japanichiban’s Friend finder.

Or why not tell a lonely friend to try. May be the catalyst that changes their life. Lots of people have found their soul mates in there. Amazing to think that this site has brought so many people together. Really!

I’ll be watching closely today and tomorrow to see Ichiban do well in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. May be worth a small wager!


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Dec 20 2013

Miss International Ikumi Yoshimatsu Rocking the boat!

Category: J-pop,Japan EntertainmentIchiban @ 8:15 am

A JAPANESE beauty queen says a talent manager threatened her life after she refused to sign with a major agency.















Celebrity stands up to talent agency ‘stalker’

 Originally published in the The Daily Beast and also the Japan Times
Permission to re-post here given by Jake Adelstein

In Japan’s often-shady entertainment world, speaking out against bullying, harassment and stalking of women by talent agency management and producers has long been taboo.

Any woman who stands her ground and goes public risks being shunned from the industry.

But one woman has decided not to back down.

The current Miss International, Ikumi Yoshimatsu, filed criminal and civil charges Wednesday against one of Japan’s most powerful talent agencies’ executives for stalking her and attempting to ruin her career. The harassment began shortly after Yoshimatsu became the first Japanese to win the title in the pageant’s 52-year history and then refused to sign up with a problematic talent agency.

“Today I filed criminal charges against Genichi Taniguchi, a Japanese talent agency executive, who in December of last year grabbed me, forced his way into my dressing room and tried to abduct me,” Yoshimatsu said.

“Since then, he has intimidated my family, sent private detectives to my home, tried to extort money from me and my company, slandered me in the press and has made threatening calls to my family, sponsors and business associates.”

Taniguchi is president of Pearl Dash and an executive at K-Dash, the talent agency that handles such luminaries as Ken Watanabe, who co-starred in the blockbusters “The Last Samurai” and “Batman Begins.”

Yoshimatsu has attached to the criminal complaint tape recordings, videos and photographs detailing the stalking. She has been documenting the attacks toward her on the advice of her lawyer and others.

According to the criminal complaint and other sources, the trouble started last December, when Yoshimatsu amicably decided to leave her agency at the time and establish her own company. In the middle of that month, at what was supposed to be a meeting with her management at the time, former K-1 fight promoter Kazuyoshi Ishii, who has been convicted of tax evasion and destruction of evidence, abruptly entered the room and made his own proposal.

He had several times suggested in the past that she work with Taniguchi, who is a close personal friend of Ikuo Suo, chairman of Burning Productions, Japan’s most powerful talent agency.

At that meeting, Ishii allegedly urged Yoshimatsu to sign with an entertainment agency affiliated with Burning Productions. She adamantly refused, noting the Burning group was long rumored to be affiliated with the yakuza. Indeed, police files that were leaked on the Internet in 2007 list the firm as a client of the Yamaguchi-gumi.

She left the meeting and founded her own company, IY Global. She chose Matt Taylor as her international agent to secure overseas work.

On Dec. 30, after filming finished on NTV’s yearend special “Bankisha!” she was shocked to find that Taniguchi, whom she had never met, had entered the set using a pass for a different show. He immediately began shouting accusations and creating a scene. He claimed that Taylor did not represent Yoshimatsu and that the two owed him money. At one point, he allegedly grabbed Yoshimatsu’s arm and forcibly tried to pull her out of the studio. A tape recording and pictures of the incident corroborate her account.

The staff rushed Yoshimatsu into a waiting room, but Taniguchi reportedly kept chasing her. In the months that followed, Taniguchi warned her family and friends that he might bring a locksmith and break into her house to take possession of money that he insisted Taylor owed him. He also allegedly hired private detectives to watch her house.

Taylor has acknowledged that he has had problems with Taniguchi but points out, “Do his issues with me justify him attacking my client and harassing her? Is that acceptable in Japan to victimize a woman out of a personal grudge? He has also demanded I turn over her contract to him. It’s bizarre.”

Taniguchi repeatedly called sponsors of the Miss International Contest and alleged that he would release materials shaming Yoshimatsu and the contest. The International Culture Association, which operates the Miss International competition in Japan, allegedly responded by telling Yoshimatsu last month that they wanted her to keep a low profile, feign illness and not attend the succession ceremony where she was supposed to turn over her crown. The executive briefing her reportedly told her they were afraid of Taniguchi and wanted to avoid scandal. While acknowledging that Yoshimatsu was a victim of a harassment campaign, he reportedly made it clear they would prefer she did not stand up on her own behalf.

After deciding she could keep silent no longer, Yoshimatsu consulted a lawyer and filed for charges of criminal obstruction of business with the police and a claim for damages in civil court.

“I filed charges not just for my personal benefit, but to voice my concern and outrage on behalf of all the women who could not call for help, out of fear of retaliation and being ignored in a society where a ‘culture of silence’ toward crimes against women has been the standard for centuries,” Yoshimatsu said.

“Stalking is a serious issue in Japan and several women have been killed by stalkers even after consulting with the police.”

Japan’s largest weekly magazine, the Shukan Bunshun, is set to publish a four-page article Thursday on the lawsuit documenting the details of how Yoshimatsu was harassed by Taniguchi. It is questionable if the mainstream media will follow up on the story due to the tremendous power of the talent agencies.

Most Japanese publications and media avoid offending the agencies for fear of losing access to “tarento” and other celebrities.

Calls made to K-Dash and Pearl Dash were not returned. In the Shukan Bunshun article, Taniguchi admits to entering the “Bankisha!” set but denies any other wrongdoing.

Tape recordings of various incidents and of phone calls he made to people associated with Yoshimatsu contradict his account substantially.

Taniguchi told The Japan Times: “Yes, I just happened to be visiting the set of ‘Bankisha!’ but I did not harass Ms. Yoshimatsu. I’m no stalker. I called her father at least twice to try and reach her manager to solve my financial dispute with him. I have no grudge against her and Bunshun’s article is very wrong.”



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Dec 16 2013

United States Forces Japan Thanks!

Category: Japan RelatedIchiban @ 3:14 am

A special thanks to all the U.S Forces people who frequent Japanichiban.

Keeping us all safe!

Merry Christmas!

Joint Services Uniform Badge, Commander U.S. Forces Japan

The United States Forces Japan, or USFJ (在日米軍 Zainichi Beigun?) refers to the various divisions of the United States Armed Forces that are stationed in Japan. Under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, the United States is obliged to defend Japan in close cooperation with the Japan Self-Defense Forces for maritime defense, ballistic missile defense, domestic air control, communications security (COMSEC), and disaster response operations.

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