Street racing is obviously illegal and incredibly dangerous, but that has never stopped people from doing it. While we don't hear nearly as much about the scourge of Japanese tuner cars as when The Fast and the Furious first hit theaters over a decade ago, illegal street racing is still bubbling under the surface all over the island nation. An excellent new documentary short from Bowls Films takes a look at the Kanjozoku from Osaka, Japan; a group that claims to be partially responsible for the tuning style known as JDM.

The group gets their name from their preferred route known as the Kanjo. It's a 4.77-mile long loop of connected highways running right through the city of Osaka. You might expect a hardcore group of illegal Japanese racers to show up with highly tuned Nissan GT-R and Toyota Supra coupes, but the Kanjozoku evidently eschew all of the others in favor of one particular car that they love: the Honda Civic.

According to the video, that vehicle of choice came in part from the city's location. Osaka was relatively near the one-make Civic races held at Japan's legendary Suzuka racetrack. The hatchbacks thus became the default weapons for the Kanjozoku's street battles.

The guys interviewed for the documentary go so far as to claim that their scene created the whole concept of JDM tuning. The whole video is a really interesting portrait of an illegal racing scene crafted out of friendly competition. Scroll down for a brief look at the Kanjozoku of Osaka – it's worth it.


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  • 32 Comments
      PiCASSO
      • 5 Months Ago
      Let's hope none of these Kanjozoku folks decide to move to North America and experience our soulless Honda Civics.
      rsxvue
      • 5 Months Ago
      I have family that still tune Honda civics to this day and race them at the drag strips. They have civics with huge turbos that can hit 9's consistently and they are well respected. I drive a 335 now, but watching my family work on these cars in their spare time and seeing their hard work pay off at the track is such a nostalgic feeling. I own a BMW now, but I'm a Honda guy a heart. One day I'm going to buy a well maintained S2k and relive the Honda glory days of my past.
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 5 Months Ago
      Initial D meets Wangen Midnight
      Sum Dum Goy
      • 5 Months Ago
      Ahhhhhh man this takes me back. During a time when domestics were putting out nose heavy 200hp 5.7 liter pieces of porky crap with live axels in the rear, the EG civic is introduced to the US at a fraction of the price. Rumors of Si-Rs putting out 160hp with only 1.6 liter 4 bangers that screamed to 8200rpm gave very kid with the speed bug a stiffy. Of course anything gave us a stiffy at that age... Then the B16 and B18 Vtec's reached our shores in the Acura Integra and Civic Del Sol. My brother bought and crashed a Del Sol. Took the motor and threw it in a tiny 2000 lb. CRX that I inherited in college. What really made the culture thrive was the fact that they were so easy to work on. You can replace any part with a wrench, 10mm and 13mm socket. Then FATF 1 came out and ruined everything.
        bK
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Sum Dum Goy
        Exactly, after Fast and the Furious came out everybody became wannabe racers aka ricers with ebay brand wings, bodykits, stick on scoops, exhausts, rims, etc etc. with the gangster attitude.
      BodyBlue
      • 5 Months Ago
      The fact is that if you street race, you are a degenerate fool. There is ZERO defense for it.
        Cursethedawn
        • 5 Months Ago
        @BodyBlue
        You love cars. You add performance and appearance parts to it whenever you get space cash. You love the way it looks and sounds. You’re at a light and a guy pulls up next to you, he’s revving his engine, laughing at you, making comments about your girl needing a man with a real car. The light turns green and he launches. What do you do?? You just sit there?? The guy that challenged you may be a stupid idiot but he’s ahead of you and feeling he proved his point.
          AnalogJesse
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Cursethedawn
          People try and race my WRX all the time and I make a point to accelerate from the stoplight as slowly as I possibly can.
          chad.theman
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Cursethedawn
          It's a big ticket and some people can't actually handle their cars. I'm sure most people would be creeping away from the light thinking, "he's lucky I'm responsible or I'd kick his a$$." LOL
        amge5.5
        • 5 Months Ago
        @BodyBlue
        The fact is if you drive above the speed limit ever you are a degenerate fool, there is ZERO defense for it!
      All_Knowing
      • 5 Months Ago
      Makes me nostalgic of my highschool days... now myself and all my street race buddies all drive Minivans, SUV's, or luxo sport sedans. *sigh* Time to buy an old EG hatch and enter midlife crisis mode.
      Soccer Mom
      • 5 Months Ago
      We risk ruining our public reputation, jobs, even our lives - and yet we still run the Kanjo. Why? Because we are morons.
      audisp0rta4
      • 5 Months Ago
      I used to be really into street racing. Was definitely the biggest rush ever. I still love watching street racing videos on YouTube. Especially the ones centered around the Houston, Oakland and NYC area scenes. Buuuut...even I think it's incredibly stupid to see a 40+ year old man wearing a SARS mask, talking about how he's not going to quit street racing until he's satisfied that the next generation has taken over. REALLY DUDE??!!! You won't be happy until there's another generation of dumbasses (like I once was) out there risking other peoples' lives to engage in a reckless and selfish game?! What we used to do was dangerous as well. But for the most part, we did all our racing late night in industrial complexes where usually only us "racers" and spectators were at risk. As an aside...street racing will never go away. I wish local governments would do something to positive about it, rather than fight it. It really wouldn't be hard to set up temporary tracks in unused areas, get proper safety personnel and charge a nominal fee to keep it off the main streets. Wow, that was a seriously long rant. Props to anyone that reads all that. -_-
      Matrix
      • 5 Months Ago
      They want others to keep the legacy alive but yet every time these fools street race they also endanger the lives of others around them just going about their daily commute, If you want to race, take it to a track, don't put innocent lives in danger just because you want to have fun.
      William
      • 5 Months Ago
      There was a time when this scene actually seemed rebellious, counter-culture, and fascinating. All it takes to kill that illusion is seeing yet another tired Japanese economy car with eBay sourced wings, neon, and fart can exhaust, driven by some white suburban boy who thinks he's a "gangsta".
      bK
      • 5 Months Ago
      Interesting. Didn't know these guys actually started it all for the civics uprise of the 90s. and it makes sense, because there wasn't a culture of JDM until the 90s civics came out with the vtecs. and there wasn't any other Japanese brand that offered inexpensive sporty cars.
      Cursethedawn
      • 5 Months Ago
      Telling a street racer to keep it on the track is like telling a thief he should get a normal job. What they are doing is illegal, they know it, innocent people can get hurt and they know it. So save your breath. Tracks have rules and nobody meets someone on the street and says, "Instead of racing to the next stoplight let's take it to the track. How's next Sunday work for you?" It's just not going to happen.
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