The Chronicles 2014 Japan Trip Coverage… Part 11: The Legendary Osaka Kanjozokus…

**DISCLAIMER**: STICKYDILJOE.COM does not approve, condone, nor promote street racing of any motor vehicles on public roadways, which include but is not limited to; interstates, highways, or any public motorway as defined by local, state, or federal law, code or regulation.

This is RAW footage that was captured in Japan as merely an observational piece documenting a historical part of Osaka’s car enthusiasts culture. What you see is not scripted in any way nor was it planned. What you will witness is incredibly dangerous and should not be attempted, recreated, or practiced at any time.

All parties who participated do so at their own risk and hold any and all persons associated with STICKYDILJOE.COM harmless of any and all liabilities.

As I discussed early on in my coverage of my journey to Japan last month, there wasn’t a whole lot of planning involved. Everything that I initially had planned seemed to have fallen through the cracks and was disrupted by the huge fallout from the major changes at Source Interlink. Originally, I was set to meet up with Jonathan Wong (Then with Super Street) and Brandon Leung (BOWLS LA) to create a major project documenting the famed Osaka Kanjo underground culture. It was supposed to be huge. I mean, I had already planned to meet up with some guys in Osaka to experience the Kanjo Loop but when Brandon approached me with the idea for this project, I was stoked. After I found out, it honestly became the centerpiece to my trip. Tokyo Auto Salon was of course the main objective but it almost seemed less important once this project fell into my hands. Once everything happened, I felt like as easily as it fell into my hands, it just as easily slipped through the cracks of my fingers and was out of my control. The possible funding for it became non-existent and the opportunity to create something incredible seemed lost. Brandon, who is an incredible videographer, was no longer able to make the trip and because Jonathan Wong had left Super Street, he would not accompany me on the journey either….

The project became an afterthought but with some insistence from friends, particularly Ryan Der, who was just as excited about the entire thing as I was, I decided to move forward with the project….whatever it is I could salvage of it that is. We had already laid plans to meet the Kanjozokus when we arrived in Osaka so we knew that they would come through. There would at least be something for the site. I would capture whatever I saw and blow whatever I did last year when I met with some of them out of the water. Last year’s documentation of our meeting with the Kanjo Loop runners was cool and everybody loved it, but I was ill-prepared to take advantage of the opportunity. It was almost a complete surprise actually as I didn’t know that we’d be meeting them until a few days before it actually happened. This time, I told myself that I would do what I could to create something special. Meeting up with these guys is an INCREDIBLY RARE opportunity. As little as I knew about them, they knew just as less about me…I was insignificant really. Thanks to my friends in Osaka, they were able to tell these guys what I was all about and they were eager to arrange a gathering for me. I so humbly respect them for blessing me with the opportunity to witness what is so completely rare and special to them. Osaka Kanjo is a shadow of what it used to be, thanks to major law enforcement crackdowns over the years. Whoever was left was the dedicated few who decided to carry on the tradition and spirit of Osaka Kanjo Racing. For them to put together something for me is amazing. One of the hardest things to do when putting this piece together is to ensure that I did whatever I could to respect what they did and what they were representing for Osaka’s underground automotive culture…

So I lost my main Japanese contact when JDM Wong left Super Street and I no longer had a video guy to capture incredible footage for me. Luckily I had great friends in Japan who I could rely on with Tactical Art who were instrumental in helping to create this piece. For video, I said, “fuck it”. I am no video guy by any stretch of the imagination and barely a photographer but I was going to just capture what I could. Honestly, I barely even know how to use the fucking “record” function on the video side of this camera that I use. I literally had to learn on the fly because I had only accessed it once or twice previously. Ryan Der had a camera with him as well and I knew I could count on him to capture some extra footage if needed. So when we arrived in Osaka, we were basically ready to cover this and try to create something worthwhile. What we ended up seeing was just mind-numbing and nothing what we expected to see. We are familiar with the Osaka Kanjo runners and have a basic idea of their history but man oh man, this was a complete eye-opener….

I should mention that you might want to be prepared to read a lot today. I’m sorry if reading troubles you but if you don’t read all of this word for word, you will not understand any of it. No truer words will ever be spoken on this site. IF YOU DON’T READ AND HAVE AN OPEN-MIND, YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WILL BE SEEING BELOW. So if you’re eyes are tired from reading what I’ve already written, just stop here, go take a fucking nap, and come back when you are ready…

Let me give you a basic idea of what Kanjo Racing is because many of you will not know what it is. Hell, most Japanese outside of the Kansai region don’t even have a grasp of what it is. I first came upon Kanjo Racing like some of you. I accidentally stumbled upon some photos of some Kanjo cars while searching the web and also like some of you, I watched the old JDM Insider DVD that did a interesting story on it. For that time, it was a big deal to get a look at this scene because everyone was going crazy over drifting and this was nothing like it. This type of “motorsport”, if you will, is native to only the Osaka region and nowhere near comparable to the more popular, and more well-understood, Wangan Racing scene in Tokyo. The Wangan is a long, straight highway where running it is based on power and speed. Kanjo consists of driving in a “loop” of highway in Osaka that is much smaller. Racing on the Loop is all about agility and maneuverability. It’s not so much based on pure speed. It’s rise in notoriety, particularly within the Honda community, spawned in the 1980s when guys in Osaka would race third generation Civics (What we know as the AT or E-AT) through the loop. Multiple car clubs arose and would battle each other on the loop. Over time it grew in popularity within the underground subculture of Osaka car enthusiasts and peaked in the early 2000s. Things died down significantly when Osaka law enforcement became fed up with the dangerous and reckless driving of the Kanjozoku and cracked down on it, HARD. People were being arrested, spending time in jail because of it, and those who were caught paid a hefty price for their actions. There were guys who were with us that night we went out that had spent time in jail because of it and have since removed themselves from the Loop. Many retired from running the Loop, some transitioned into circuit racing, some just grew old and decided that it was better to live a normal life. Only the diehards stuck around. The ones who stayed hid in the depths of the night and would only occasionally make the risky drive out to run the loop with friends and rivals. Osaka Kanjo became a shadow of its former self. You would be lucky to catch a rare glimpse of them on the Loop and even when you did, you would only see them for brief moments before they blasted by and disappeared into the night. Why this gathering on this particular night is special because it not only was an important meeting for me, it was also a special moment for the Kanjozoku because they too had not been together on the loop in a long time. It was almost a reunion of sorts for them as a grouping this big had not been arranged in over SIX years. I will say it again, I was honored to be in their presence because I understand how important it was for them….

What you will find below is what I captured that night. Though I must admit that I was a bit in shock, I tried my best to capture the essence of the gathering. Last year we had an encounter with two individuals who were kind enough to give us a glimpse into their world. This year, We had roughly 20 cars, maybe more. I couldn’t tell you the exact numbers because they were coming and going and many disappeared into the darkness…

It was vital for me to make sure that everyone’s identities remain a secret and to ensure the privacy of all individuals involved. These guys are some of the last remaining Kanjozoku around and I would not play a part in potentially getting any of them caught-up in anything. I respect what they do and what they are about. This is something unique to Osaka and has a rich history that they intend to continue to push forward with as long as they can. I think people would be foolish to attempt anything like this at home. It doesn’t matter where you are, driving the way they do and performing the “stunts” that you will see is highly illegal and incredibly dangerous. It is important to remember that when you get into your own cars. It all seems like fun and games but when it comes down to it, you should not attempt to be a “Kanjo Racer”, because you never will be. Many have tried, many have failed. Look to this piece more as a documentation of Japanese car culture and not as an instructional piece on how to drive your vehicle with your friends. Let’s be honest with ourselves. If you tried this at home, it wouldn’t be an instance where you would just get shunned by the police and asked to go home; it would turn into a high-speed chase where you would either end up getting arrested or dead. Helicopters would follow you home and police would take you away (granted that you survived) and you would get charged with reckless endangerment and even maybe vehicular manslaughter if you accidentally crashed into someone else along the way. Just because you see it, it doesn’t mean you have to mimic it and do it at home. Save it for the track and run your cars out there in a protected environment where you aren’t putting the lives of other people at risk because you want to believe that you are a “Kanjo Racer”. Again, you will fail, and you might potentially kill yourself and maybe others….

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

On the other hand, I see people building Kanjo-inspired builds here in the U.S. and it is almost kind of refreshing. Hopefully you guys actually never attempt to run your own “loop” but I see the style growing in popularity this year. If you find inspiration from the way these cars look or how they come together, it’s all good. There is a ruggedness about them that expresses function. It’s not the type of ruggedness here that screams “I just don’t have enough money to do anything to my car”. They also tell you that they don’t really give a shit what other people think. These guys have their cars set-up this way for a reason and I will explain to you exactly why they look the way they do further down with photos. There is a very particular way to put these kinds of cars together that I don’t think a whole lot of people understand yet. There are little details that make this style incredibly unique more so than just having a half beat-up looking car with a colorful scheme….

One more thing to add to all this before we get to the photos and video is that this will be unlike anything you have seen on The Chronicles before. The photos are edited in a fashion that doesn’t resemble anything I’ve done in the past and I understand that many of you probably won’t like it…and that is completely fine. A lot of the photos are also done differently than one another to create a sense of disorder and confusion. I did this because I want you guys to embrace the chaos that we experienced that evening. I also did it because it makes the cars a little more unrecognizable in a real world setting. As stated, this is a very secretive group of people who choose to keep their identities unknown. It doesn’t hurt to try something a little different every now and then and since this piece is so unique and foreign to almost everything else you’ve seen on The Chronicles or any other automotive site that you follow, it should be treated as that. The video is incredibly shaky and all raw as Der and I captured it. I originally had the video clips sent off to my friend Sam Ip who took a lot of time trying to clean it up and to stabilize the video so it was less shaky, but I just wasn’t happy with the overall results. It’s not Sam’s fault, as I appreciated his time and efforts but the shake was so bad that the stabilization process actually took so many frames out of the video that it made the final product even harder to watch. I ended-up keeping the video raw and mostly unedited because I just felt it was best to see it as we captured it. Keeping it all raw also goes with the rawness of everything else that you will see. There is nothing refined about Osaka Kanjo Racing; the cars are raw, the people are raw, so why not deliver everything to you as raw as it should be. I hope that you watch it and read the captions that lead up to it so you understand why it was captured. I don’t produce filler content so don’t expect to see me plug some video in just to kill your time. Everything comes together in controlled, chaotic bliss and overall, I am happy with the presentation….

**I shouldn’t really need to remind people to not steal my photos and reproduce it as their own. This is incredibly rare footage that you will see and everyone will know where it came from. Save yourself the shame of being called-out for being a content-stealer to promote your own endeavors. I paid for this trip out of my own pocket and risked my fucking life to create this original content for everyone to see completely at no cost to you. Please respect what I do and keep these photos and video only to this site. If you plan to re-post a shot or two, at least be decent enough to post appropriate credit and links back to STICKYDILJOE.COM….Thank you…**

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Okay, so that night after dinner, we met up with some guys from “NO GOOD RACING”, one of Osaka’s famed Kanjo Car Clubs. They were parked along a side street by the restaurant we ate at and we were able to get a good look at their cars…

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I had never seen the white EG6 previously but I was familiar with the blue EG because I had seen it before in some photos. You can look back at some old photos that I put together a couple years back that will probably give you a good idea of who used to own this car. One of the guys we were with that night that was showing us around was once a member of NO GOOD RACING but has since moved-on. This was his old Civic and he sold it to another NO GOOD member who kept it in the family….

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These are probably two of the cleanest Kanjo cars you will see in Osaka. Many of them have colorful liveries or have some significant battle scars and are far from perfect. As clean as it is, it still carries with it the details of what you would find in an Osaka loop runner; minimal aero, a rear wing (This one had a J’s Racing wing), side moldings removed with the holes covered up and a number plate along the sides of each door. Many of them have vented FRP hoods and some have widened front fenders. The interiors are gutted completely and many have cages in them. Wheels vary but often times, you’ll see them mismatched as they go through tires quite a bit and need to switch to a fresh set without having to mount/dismount….

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There was some excitement when we came upon these cars. We hadn’t even arrived to meet up with the whole group yet but just seeing these cars parked along a regular street in Osaka in the evening where everyone could see them was really cool. These guys lurk in the shadows usually so for them to just be out in the public was a sign of respect to us and we knew it was going to be a special night….

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Love how the SSR Type-Xs look on this car and how it has almost remained unchanged over the years. Note the exhaust and how it is tucked up into the rear bumper as well. This is also a mod that you will see a lot on Kanjo builds…

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The signature hand logo that signifies a NO GOOD RACING car. The hand is actually supposed to mimic a gun if you didn’t notice…. “Bang bang”….

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All identities concealed, faces blurred like a vagina in a Japanese porno…

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Team NO GOOD RACING, Since 1985…

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After I got the shots that I needed, we set off to go meet the rest of the group….

I didn’t have any expectations going into it but was told that there would be a pretty large group of guys meeting up. I thought it would just be guys from NO GOOD but I was wrong. A bunch of Kanjozoku from NO GOOD were also joined by guys from TOPGUN RACING, CLUB WHARP, and LAW BREAK. These are just three of the infamous car clubs that roamed the Osaka highways. Many are still around like TEMPLE RACING but these are the most active in this decade…

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Just a small sample of the grouping that gathered along the Osaka seaside docks in the midst of a random week night…

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In the group of Civics, it was quite surprising to encounter this CF4 Accord Euro-R on Volk TE37s. You may remember seeing this car from my coverage of the Stance:Nation G Edition event from last year. It was the one that I mentioned had no door handles. Well, it is now complete. I thought it was a track car but had no idea that it was a Honda that cruised the Loop…

There was already a good-sized group but then more started to come in. Since it was in the dead of silence in the middle of the night, you could hear these cars coming from miles away. It sounded like a hoard of bees ready to swarm and attack….

Various cars from TOPGUN and NO GOOD rolled through screaming bloody hell….

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The white EG6 from NO GOOD that you saw earlier on white Enkei NT03….

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Primered Grey EK9 CTR from TOPGUN RACING on 15-inch Volk TE37s with meaty Yokohama Advan rubber. Note the J’s Racing fenders and center-exit exhaust….

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Another unexpected sight was this crashed EG Civic from TOPGUN. Apparently he had wrecked the car in the canyons somewhere one night but just continued to drive it just as you see it with no hood, front bumper, and just one headlight…. Nothing screams “I’m down for whatever” more than just cruising through the streets in a car that had no face….

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For those of you wondering, many of their graphical liveries and schemes are heavily inspired from the Japanese Group A motorsports series. While the Civics of that time were dominating on the circuit, Kanjo Racers followed suit in a similar fashion on the highways of Osaka. The EF9 you see above is a near identical replica of the old JTCC Championship-winning Idemitsu Motion EF9 Civic SiR Group A Racecar. There is also an EG that also wears this exact scheme and you can often find them together, though they are both from different factions; The EF is from TOPGUN and the EG from NO GOOD RACING….

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The ones that don’t bear a resemblance to actual motorsports vehicles are done in a way to not only stand-out, but also to fool local law enforcement. When the Kanjo scene was more active and heavily populated, guys would often change their color schemes and liveries to make their cars unidentifiable to the police. Some would even change their cars up on a weekly basis to evade the police. That is another reason why you see the cars in such a raw appearance. They just didn’t care because they had to constantly change their cars anyways. They can kind of get away with it now because they aren’t being tracked by law enforcement so you will see the cars with the same schemes for months to even years….

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The group continued to get bigger as the night carried on….

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One of the cleanest builds that night was this EG from CLUB WHARP. It looked like the scheme had just been freshly applied. The odd-looking image on the “OKRC” number plate is actually an outline of the Osaka Loop….

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This TOPGUN RACING EK made it very apparent that it was not fond of the police….

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Though there may have been rivalries in the past between the various car clubs in Osaka, they all seemed to get along when they were together. Maybe the major crackdown from years ago brought them all together and united them as Kanjo Racers more than rival clubs. On some of the cars, you’d even find different car club logos on a car that was from a notable crew. This TOPGUN Civic also beared a LAW BREAK decal on it….

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Upon closer inspection, it seemed to be a collaborative effort between the two crews, LAW BREAK and TOPGUN, as the “Special Brothers” logo on his license plate beared the logos of both crews together. This shows solidarity between the two clubs and expresses a mutual partnership….

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Pretty cool livery on this TOPGUN EK that was emblazoned with Honda’s signature “VTEC” logo across both sides….

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I thought this “ELITE GROUP” logo was bad ass. Imagine if you were a cop and chasing these guys down, staring at this logo that basically says “fuck the police” knowing that you probably couldn’t catch them….

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Another shot of the CLUB WHARP EG….

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One of the questions that I get asked the most and one that I was wondering myself was why are all Kanjo Racers drove Civics. I actually asked and the answer is quite interesting; They all drive Civic hatchbacks because they are very nimble cars that are light and responsive. You don’t see anyone driving an Integra or anything because they are bigger than Civics and can’t maneuver around things as easily if necessary. When I say “things”, I mean that if they had to evade the police and had to drive onto the sidewalk or any other areas that weren’t considered normal roads, a Civic could easily fit through those areas better than an Integra could. That all sounds a little crazy but we actually witnessed one of the cars drive into oncoming traffic later that night and at the point when they were about to run into other cars, it quickly darted onto the sidewalk past a 7-11 before turning onto a narrow street to catch up with the rest of the group….I swear on my life. You can’t even make shit up like that because no one would believe it. We didn’t either until this guy was driving on the sidewalk like it was a regular thing!….

A more simple answer would be that the Civics they use have responsive chassis’ that were perfect for the tight corners of sections of the Osaka Loop…

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A really clean EF build from TOPGUN RACING on silver SSR Type-X…

Another interesting story that was told to us by a former NO GOOD RACING member was the secret code of owning a Civic in Osaka. These cars were so revered in Osaka at one point that car enthusiasts had to literally ask for permission from Kanjo racers to own one. It was automatically assumed that if you owned a Civic and planned to mod it in Osaka, you were expected to run the loop or be a Kanjo guy. If you weren’t and just up and bought a Civic without abiding by this unspoken rule, you’d likely get your Civic taken away from you. Things are significantly different now in this decade of course but you have to remember that not all these guys were the most legitimate, law-abiding folks. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see someone have their Civic stolen and see it reappear weeks later as someone else’s toy on the Loop….

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We didn’t encounter any TEMPLE RACING cars that night but I did see their club logo on one of the cars. I’m not entirely sure how active TEMPLE even is anymore in the Kanjo racing scene. From the photos that I’ve seen recently, it appears that some of them have transformed their cars into full track builds and only race on the circuit now….

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I absolutely loved this TOPGUN RACING hoodie that all the TOPGUN members were wearing….

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LOOP SOLDIER, Since 1984….

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They were all gathered together and chatting so I had our friend translate so they could line-up for a photo. This turned-out to be one of my favorite shots from that night. It could be a photo taken at any point in any decade from 1984 to 2014 and it would represent the same thing…

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The cleanest Civic that night was probably this white EG from BRUSHUP. It didn’t actually run the loop but looked to be there just as a support vehicle to check out the festivities….

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Really liked this NO GOOD RACING EG with its orange accents and SSR Type-C wheels…

Another common theme that you see with all these Kanjo cars is that they all utilize window nets. Unlike actual competition cars that use them for safety, they use these Nascar style nets more as ways to further protect their identities from law enforcement and onlookers. They all wear masks of course but the nets help to distort possible identifiable facial features. One of the old NO GOOD members that was actually captured and who went to jail for a period of time because of their exploits running the Osaka Loop mentioned that he was caught even after wearing a mask. There’s no such thing as a “sure thing” when protecting one’s identity so it was a further reminder to obscure all faces and any mention of names…

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One of the NO GOOD RACING guys saw that we were taking photos so he decided to do some posing for us. It was one of the photos of him that ended up being another favorite shot of mine and I didn’t even capture it on my dSLR….

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…it was captured on my phone and I just processed it in a way to make it look like a really old, gritty photo. Again, like the TOPGUN shot, it could have been taken at any point within the last 3 decades and it would still represent the same thing….

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Another row of Civics parked near the group that I initially captured…

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The whole gathering was a great opportunity for photos and to see these cars in person, but the main reason why we gathered was because we were waiting for a man that is considered the “Kanjo King” in Osaka who is the head of NO GOOD RACING. He was still prepping his car and out of respect to him, nobody would run the Osaka Loop on that night until he arrived….

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Our group got increasingly larger with some more cars to come so it was decided that we would move to another location to await the arrival of the “King”….

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It was incredible to see all these guys cruise together on the streets and it was obvious that it was a special moment for them as well to all be united again….

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The tunnel provided a moment in time that I don’t think I’ll forget for a very long time. Just to hear them rumble like an angry swarm of bees was enough to make my entire trip worthwhile…

Here’s some short clips of the cruise that both Der and I captured…

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I apologize if the photos and videos aren’t the greatest but its either we have crappy vids and photos or nothing at all, you take your pick, haha…

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Here is the NO GOOD RACING EG that wears the classic Idemitsu Motion livery…

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Eventually, we arrived at a secluded street in an unknown location in Osaka to await the arrival of the “Kanjo King”….

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NO GOOD RACING….

At one point you could kind of notice how angry a truck driver was to see these guys on the street. Maybe he had some flashbacks when he saw these guys terrorizing the highways because he drove full speed right at one of the cars that was in his way like he was purposely trying to run him over. It is very rare to see this type of behavior from Japanese men who are usually very calm and reserved. It was a weird but memorable moment that night….

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Here is a glimpse into the inside of one of these Kanjo-bred Civics. They are all pretty similar in that they are all gutted bear with a bolt-in cage and bucket seats. Nothing really showy about it as it is just assembled for function…

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If you ever wondered what these cars had going on under the hood, I think you’d be kind of disappointed to see that there isn’t a whole lot. Most of them run B16A or B18C engines and everything else is pretty much stock other than a header and intake. As I said before, these cars were never built for power or speed. It is more important to them that the cars remain well-balanced so that they can make the most out of the chassis more so than the motor. That and you also have to consider that these cars can be lost at any time, whether it be by the police taking the cars away or by an unforeseen accident. It just makes sense to just keep the motors the way they are. A B-series motor is more than enough to get you around the loop. There are a couple of K-swapped cars but it is really rare to see, especially in the Kanjo racing world… Make note of the EF bay above with the VIN plate and firewall numbers completely cut-out. This isn’t common with the others but I noticed this one had it all removed…

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Another EF engine bay, I believe this was the TOPGUN Idemitsu-themed Civic. Again, nothing crazy and far from any of the tucked showcar bays you see out here. These engine bays weren’t made to be looked at and if you got a glance at them, they probably have some form of trust in you to even let you be that close to their cars…

This spot here where we stopped was our first official encounter with the Osaka Police. Someone must have seen the gathering and reported it to the police because a single police vehicle rolled-up and sort of ushered us out of the area. They weren’t aggressive or anything and in true Japanese fashion, sort of just asked us to leave because we shouldn’t be gathered there. It wasn’t a big deal but the moment those sirens came on, it was like the old street racing days where you got into your car as fast as you could and made a break for it. Everything seemed like it was just a short amount of time we were gathered together but we were out there for a couple of hours. The King was fashionably late and our contact made a couple calls to him and he just let us know that he was taking care of some stuff before he could make it out. There is an aura of mystery around him like everyone else there but he seemed to be a very unique character…

After the police came and told us to leave, we all separated for a while into separate groups until whatever heat there was died down. Some cars took off and never came back, some stopped at a local 7-11 to hang out, and others just dispersed into other smaller groups until the call was made to reconvene. During that time, we met up with the Kanjo King himself. I actually have quite a bit more video than what you have seen before of moments that we captured during the trip but after going through them multiple times, I came to the conclusion that it was just to risky to present them to the world. Some of our GO-PRO footage even has some faces in plain sight along with some viewable plates. Though they are temporary plates, it is still risky to be able to see all the details of them because they could possibly be traced back. When we got footage of the meeting with the Kanjo King, I had to trim it down significantly to make any of it usable…

As an example, here is a screen grab of one of the videos on my computer that I couldn’t use. albeit with the important stuff blurred…

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I’m not proficient enough with video editing and honestly, the video isn’t that great anyways, so some of this stuff will just be saved for my private collection…

The car you see in the video in blue is the EK that belongs to the one they call the Kanjo King. You saw his car last year as well in my Japan Trip coverage. The car hasn’t changed in years so it wasn’t a surprise to see that it looked as it did before. The white EK9 Civic Type R is from LAW BREAK. The shop that put that car together also has a K-swapped EK9 that runs the Kanjo but we unfortunately did not encounter that car on that evening. Once the King arrived, it was time to prepare for our parade lap through Osaka before hitting the famed Loop….

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Here is a better look at the Kanjo King’s EK. If you watched the JDM Insider special on Kanjo Racing from almost ten years ago, you will probably spot this car in the video looking exactly how you see it now. The owner is actually in his early 40’s and has an unquestionable amount of respect in this world since he has been running the Osaka Loop for two decades. He is one of the few that continued to stick around after the massive crackdown and that is probably why he is so revered. I didn’t have any means of communicating with him since he didn’t speak English but our encounters have always been good. He was even nice enough to give us a whole batch of rare NO GOOD RACING decals for us to take home….

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Considering how good the car looks, it makes you wonder how many times it has been redone. It’s retained the same livery over the years which means he either hasn’t been caught, or he’s not worried about the police because he can get away from them. Running the Loop for 20 years will give you a bit of confidence in evading whatever and whoever you need to….

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Check out the rear bumper cut-outs and the widened fenders up front….

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Also notice this custom rear piece that helps to block the license plate from view….

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The King is the mysterious face of the NO GOOD RACING team as well as a representative of Osaka Kanjo both past and present…

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The other face of Osaka Kanjo is the mask you see above. We know it as the “Jason” mask from the horror flicks but to the Japanese, this is an image that is synonymous with Osaka Loop runners. The mask not only protects their identity, but also creates a bit of a menacing, intimidating, appearance….

Unfortunately, these are easy to come by because they are very common. Now every kid that gets a hold of one of these masks and drives a Civic and claim to be a Kanjo racer by taking a selfie with the mask on and hashtagging “#kanjo” on their Instagram accounts….

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My favorite of the evening had to be the LAW BREAK EK9 from IMPACT. It was just so clean with the C-West front bumper, and the mismatched Volk CE28s and white Kosei wheels up front. Don’t quote me on this but during our runs later when the Kanjo King wasn’t around, the owner of this car took the reigns of the entire group so he might be the next in line or equally revered as the King…

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BATTLE TEAM LAW BREAK…. Love the stick of dynamite used in their logo….

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Red EK that cruised with the group of four that included the Kanjo King….

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And the EG that you got a glimpse of last year during our first encounter with the Kanjozoku….

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Here’s the engine bay of the LAW BREAK CTR….I was hoping they would pop the hood and a K would be under there, haha…

Now, this is where we get to the good stuff…Hopefully you thought most of the other stuff you saw above is good but this is the stuff you probably want to see more than anything….

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After some photos, it was time to gather the entire group for a parade lap through the streets of Osaka. Before all this happened, I always thought that these guys just went straight to the Loop to run but that is not the case. Since they had everyone together, it became sort of a celebration and we just mobbed the streets…

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The videos you will see below are shaky but please try to take it all in and study everything that is going on. Make note of the environment and what they are doing…

You’ll notice that they act as if traffic lights do not even exist and just use the streets as their playground. What they are doing and driving is already “illegal” so you might as well just do whatever you want (within reason of course)….You will also see that some of the guys decided to take a drive on the other side of the road. This was the point when I mentioned that we saw one of the cars drive onto a sidewalk and blast off into the night before reappearing in front of us….

I told you, this shit is crazy and a little unbelievable. Again DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Don’t put your life at risk just because you want to call yourself a “Kanjo Racer”. In reality the only loops you’ll be running are the ones where you put both wrists through them when you’re getting locked up in jail…

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This view right here… Priceless…I still couldn’t believe we were in the midst of what is going on. I mean, this is sacred coverage right here. Even if you mutter the words “Kanjo” to some of our other friends from Japan that live in Osaka, they won’t even speak of it because it carries with it some very negative connotations. During my stay in Japan, this was like eating raw beef, horse, chicken, anything else I wouldn’t try anywhere else. It was a “You only live once” type of scenario and we just said “fuck it, let’s do this”….

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As I’m typing this right now, I just got this message from a buddy of mine from Japan…

“I’m glad you know how sacred the tradition is and that you’re censoring a lot of stuff. I think a lot of other people in the industry don’t have that type of censorship or understanding that some things are best left untouched. Some people don’t deserve to see what you saw…”

And I hope you guys understand how sacred this stuff is as well. It’s not everyday we can dive into this world and see what we all get to see today. Please be respectful and don’t exploit my work or what these guys have taken decades to create….

What is being explained to us in the video above in Japanese is that we were entering the “not so safe” part of Osaka aka “the ghetto”, if such exists in Japan. It didn’t matter where it was we mobbed right through it like we owned the place….

This was one of the craziest things that happened. Once we got to this part of Osaka, there were actually other cars on the street and light traffic going both directions. The group then decided to stop in the middle of a crowded intersection and got out to take pictures!! It was insane. Everyone who wasn’t involved with the Kanjo racers just kind of froze in their tracks and watched it all happen. Not only that, the owner of the LAW BREAK EK9 even got out of the car and started dancing in the intersection, haha….

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If there was a shot that put our entire experience into one photo, it just might be the incredible capture that Der got when we were driving alongside all the Kanjozoku. This is the TOPGUN RACING EK on the other side of the road driving into oncoming traffic while the passenger was taking a picture… Just pure insanity….

Eventually, we made our way onto the highway. I wish I could have captured the actual Kanjo action but our chase car just could not keep up with them. We spent the rest of the night/early morning just circling the loop and watching everything happen. Once the cars got onto the Loop, you couldn’t even find them. They were so fast that they all didn’t even stay in a group together. Guys separated into packs and just ran the Loop the entire time…

If you’re wondering what happened to the Kanjo King and why you don’t see him in any of the videos, we actually lost him during the parade lap through Osaka because he had to stop to use the bathroom, haha. Again, you can’t even make this stuff up. The guy is older and has other things to worry about, what can I say? He didn’t end up on the Loop though and was mobbing with everyone else but we couldn’t find him….

I did however, catch some of the other guys on the highway…

They do that weaving back and forth a lot because it not only is a driving technique of theirs, but it also helps to warm up their tires for better grip. Remember that the weather isn’t exactly warm in Japan during the winter, especially during those hours so it helped to keep the tires hot and sticky….

After some time on the loop, we did eventually run into the police. They circled the loop a couple times too but it was actually only one police officer the entire time. Over the years, they cracked down on Kanjo racing so hard that it almost killed the entire concept of it. Since this was a rare night when these cars were on the Loop again, I don’t think they made too big a deal of it. They just roamed the highway and tried to chase the cars away so that they would just go home or something. Eventually the cop just gave up and pulled over on the side of the highway to try to capture photos of the cars possibly for their records….That or maybe the cop was a fan as well and wanted to get some rare footage…

This was the last encounter that we saw with the police that evening. The three Civics were just toying with him and turned off their lights and just cruised up to the police car before turning their headlights on right behind it and blasting by….

As far as photos go, that was about it. I just put everything away and just embraced the moment and watched it all happen. We eventually called it a night and decided to go home as the Kanjozoku continued to run the Loop. It was a remarkable experience that left us all a little dumbfounded…

Below you will find some GO-PRO footage that we captured that night. It is about 20 minutes long and could have been longer had we not run out of memory card space. I know what you’re thinking… “why didn’t you put the GO-PRO on one of the Kanjo cars?”…well that’s simple, we weren’t entirely sure that we would even get the fucking thing back if we did. Whose to say that shit wouldn’t have flown off or if one of the guys got caught by the police. We had no idea what we were getting into so we didn’t even try. The group dispersed so quickly that it was almost certain that we would never see the camera again so it was best to just keep it on our chase car. If we ever do this again, I’ll try to be more prepared, but that is a big “IF” because we just don’t know if we can get a group like this together again….

This is all a lot to take in for all of you, especially for those who have no idea what Osaka Kanjo is all about. I hope that I have presented it to you in the appropriate way to both give you the information that is important, while still remaining completely respectful to the Osaka Kanjozoku that were kind enough to bring us along on this incredible ride. I don’t think I need to remind you guys anymore to not attempt to replicate this stuff at home because it just wouldn’t work. Trust me, being someone who has been all over the country and other parts of the world and has experienced car culture from all angles, this just isn’t something that should be done in America or anywhere else outside of Osaka, Japan…

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I did it more as a cultural study on something that we all wanted to know more about that has to do with one of the many layers of history that exist in the Japanese tuning world. There isn’t a whole lot of content and information out there but maybe this will eventually become the place marker for people to come to if they want to learn about it. Hopefully I have done it justice…

This is a special day folks. I don’t know if many of you understand the gravity of what you have seen today. For those who took the time to read through the entire thing, I thank you for looking and for understanding. This was a labor of love that often left me torn at nights because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to even put it together. Thank you to everyone involved who made this possible and who put themselves out there to risk everything so that we could have this. Thank you to NO GOOD RACING, CLUB WHARP, TOPGUN RACING, LAW BREAK, and the other Kanjozokus for helping and for carrying on a tradition that is an essential part of Osaka’s legendary tuning culture…

If there is one thing to take away from all this, it is this quote…

“There’s just something so poetic about a culture that is so secretive that screams so loudly in the way their cars are assembled and driven….”

That’s a wrap. Thank you.

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65 thoughts

  1. Absolutely amazing, everything about that culture is just so fascinating. Excellent presentation as always, keep up the amazing work Joey!

  2. Excellent job Joey, I think the photos and the video truly show the culture of this group. Thank for giving us a glimpse inside. Once in a lifetime experience for you I am sure.

  3. Thank you so much for this excellent coverage of the kanjo. I have been a fan of this racing since 2003. There wasn’t much info on it but always thought it was something special.
    People started really talking about the kanjo a couple years back and I cant think why it’s just now becoming a popular topic here in the US. I started to see lots of jason masks in civics at shows and asked myself “what the hell? That’s an Osaka thing hahah.”
    Thanks for such a great look into this world that is barely known out of Osaka.

  4. Great coverage! This just reminds me of how cool Japan is. As a “normal” citizen here we have to worry about the knock out game, or getting mugged and shot at the gas station. In Japan the worst thing that will happen is you might get woken up by bosozoku haha. I did get my bicycle stolen there once but the police found it several days later, police searching for a bicycle…Japan problems.

  5. it feels so right to see that you are someone who got so much respect and appreciation for this old and important part of japanese honda culture.
    I could not think of anybody else who could have lived up to this, more than you did Joey. I really thank you from all of my heart!!!
    and shared this on facebook.com/KanedaProject

  6. I can now say…”FINALLY!” The whole reason why I build. That old school soul in the Japanese tuning era! I hope now that this is posted many wont disrespect the history behind this. I rather the kids stick to the hellaflush shit. Good shit Joey!

  7. Great work Joey, I have that old JDM Insider DVD with that Kanjo footage. It’s a shame that the original project fell apart but this is great stuff and thanks for sharing. I need to come with you guys next time, I would love to see this live!

  8. Best article ever,
    you have dealt all of us here one of the greatest pleasure of our lives. these guys are so legendary, just to see the footage you got is more than enough!
    you have done a great deed for humanity, and I THANK YOU for this amazing article, god it has made my whole year already!

  9. Hi.
    We was fun to meet you in that night.
    Please look forward to the next party!
    And I’ve been waiting all my heart that you are coming to Japan again.
    The Let’s play together
    haha!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Call me ignorant but I just see a bunch of people causing a ruckus for the sake of causing a ruckus…what you lead me to believe in the written part of the article was that there would be like, ya know, actual high speed racing where people compete to go faster than one another around sweeping turns on a highway, not just swerving like a car in a drunk driving commercial in a group with your hazards on. And if that’s what they did off camera then like, why bother? I appreciate the gesture and the risks involved with both getting this film and the “racing” itself but as somebody that has never even heard of kanjozokus before this article, I think you were kind of off the mark with your video coverage, either that or the culture of this racing is just kinda dumb, why put yourself in physical and legal danger just to look like a jackass in front of people simply trying to get somewhere?

  11. So much Inspiration here! I thoroughly enjoyed the coverage you did to portray what few if even get to experience all together. Great Work! Much respect…..

  12. Thanks for posting this. Love how raw the culture is and the fact they keep pressing forward with it. This is by far the best experience you’ve captured as a whole. Keep it up man!

  13. if the police ever saw one of these guys on an actual open stretch of road, theyd be screwed. Stock motors with an air filter? Only way they can escape is my weaving through traffic and maneuvering through town/city streets.

  14. Pingback: [FEATURED] Kanjo - EK9.org JDM EK9 Honda Civic Type R Forum - Page 24

  15. Excellent coverage. Now, this is obviously just my opinion, but I have absolutely no respect for people like this. Their cars are awesome, but people who endanger innocent lives just so they can get their kicks, receive 0 respect from me.

  16. What an incredible article.!!!!!. I couldnt read fast enough to get to the next vid. How fortunate for you. Thank you for doing all of it and for risking your life doing so.

  17. Great job!! Much appreciated.. Like I said before you are the creative director for this video game(Kanjo Racer) when it releases… Hopefully soon. I want to dip through traffic on the loop too.. Don’t forget online mode…haha

  18. Incredible. Loved every picture, video, wording & the space between it, & I’m talking about since Part 1. I have always loved the culture in Japan & as a car enthusiast & a Honda guy & represents a lot for those who don’t know how it really is in Japan. It goes to show it’s not about what’s JDM or not, which it seems like in the states & not have a car setup remotely close to one lol. Regardless of it, I loved it all.

  19. Excellent coverage and I appreciate the mature and respectful manner in which it was presented. I don’t think I would have posted it myself, I see where you’re coming from with that. I also understand not showing much of the high speed stuff, if anything it’d be a bunch of fly-bys, I don’t expect you to follow in The Van. FWIW i’d rather drive on the freeway to work with these guys than a mob of techies on their phones looking up every 10 seconds while they’re Tweeting about how they’re stuck in traffic. I deal with that every day.
    Signed,
    You can get killed walking your dog.

  20. Excellent coverage, I absolutely loved the entire post… but I’m on the fence about whether or not the activity itself is as coo/interesting l as I thought it’d be. There is a whiff of mindless gang hooliganism about it.

    • I would have to agree. To be honest I don’t see why people respect them at all, just a nuisance to society really. From these videos they seem like a step up from bosozoku, which are usually high school drop outs that ride around on motorcycles doing the same stuff. These guys have awesome cars, and running the loops look fun when not endangering others, but just causing to be a ruckus for the heck of it is pretty lame.

  21. Pingback: Amazing article about Japanese Kanjo - EK9.org JDM EK9 Honda Civic Type R Forum

  22. Article was awesome!
    That must hove been an amazing adventure,definitely my favorite of this site.
    The Kanjo guys are keeping it raw and pure, if only more places were similar.
    Im from Los Angeles and reminds me of what friday night’s used to be,but they dont compare to what these guys have been doing for so long..

  23. THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!
    I’ve always “heard” bits and pieces about these guys but never in the depth that you managed. Thanks for making it happen, especially when it’s something like this. Furthermore your utmost respect for their scene is admirable/honorable to say the least. You’re a true car culture soldier and your work is appreciated more than you “might” know. MUCH RESPECT! ~one~

  24. This is a great article. I’m glad you’re here because I feel like more people should document the street racing culture from an Anthropological perspective like you did. I would love to see a book written about the history and culture of racing in japan. Not just some “look at this hawt stanced dopererererer civic cuz!” book but something that explains this is what happens, this is the history and this is the culture.

    I am also interested in how this culture interacts with the rest of Japanese culture, what are these people like in their private lives?

    I cant thank you enough for doing this, I wish I had the resources to document this stuff because I am very interested in the anthropology of various car cultures in the world. Not everyone just does drag racing the street and this is a great look at the culture. You do all of us a service to display this culture in an objective manner. Thank you thank you thank you! And a big thank you to the kanjozokus who risked their freedom to show you this.

  25. Ive been a fan of them since a couple of years now, great article!!! i think is one of you best ones so far!!! and almost forgot to say that you are one lucky bastard to go there and meet them!!!

  26. not everyone truly truly understands that culture, every tendency now days bout hondas and all of the jdm culture really started cus of them!! nice pics!! and videos,, they all are crazyy!! ajaja keep up the good work!!

  27. After seeing this coverage and the last video, I think these guys are a bunch of lames. Just causing a ruckus with no justification at all. The cars are still well built though, but they get no more props from me. Great photography and I appreciate the effort to write out your experiences.

  28. Pingback: The Chronicles 2014 Japan Trip Coverage… Part 12: Winding Down In Kyoto… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

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  30. amazing!.. i read the whole post. As a civic owner&big enthusiast, i think that street racing really isn’t good/safe 🙂 but i like these guys and all the things they work with.
    thanks for the coverage!

  31. Pingback: The legendary Osaka Kanjozoku’s | Tunnel vision

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  33. dope photos but that youtube footage was weak as hell compared to jdm insider put out some of the reserve footage we all kno youre bogart-ing! jp jp good stuff as always!

  34. Classic man that’s all I can..and to all you haters… We can care less… Worlds best article.. you have to be a die hard JDM junkie to respect this for what it is.. Thanks bro good article and love all u guys holding it down over there…

  35. GooD Job…This is The Lost World that we havent see in any where in the world…this is OSAKA and the Kanjo was Born…I Like this Kanjo Story….Proud of you guys!!!!

  36. im glad someone was able to capture the passion and tradition behind this ive always admired the Kanjozoku ever since i saw that jdm insider video years ago and i always wanted to learn more and as time when on i thought it had died out then i started seeing some of the style show up here in the states and at fist i was excited but then i got scared because i though it would get watered down and pimped like everything else that comes to the U.S. but im glad the see how well you represented it and respected the members of the teams so thank you for this. i read it almost every week lol

  37. I have so many videos of the kanjo,I came across one that titled “crazy honda highway racing” on the net & fell inlove with this culture ever since..now that I read this thread I have an even greater understanding..thanks man..writing this all the way from Durban, South Africa.as dangerous as it is..I STILL wanna go to osaka & enter the kanjo..I too can’t sit still..I want that dopamine explosion feel..I love cars too much.

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