“Chicano is a chosen identity of some Mexican Americans in the United Stated. The term became widely used during the Chicano Movement by Mexican Americans to express pride in a shared cultural, ethnic and community identity.” The introductory words from Dazed’s latest visual offering that looks at the culture of Chicano… in Japan. As the aforementioned explains, Chicano culture originated in the US, but its ethos and pride spans across the world and has found its way into the underbelly of Japan.
“When the Lowrider movement got popular in the 1990s, gangs and Cholos were imported from the US as a culture to Japan through Lowrider Magazine.”
While Japan is known for its detailed adaptations of subcultures from around the world, many of which come from the heritages of American, Chicano is admittedly a surprising one at first glance. The video however starts to unravel the culture’s deeper philosophies that uphold strong family values, and this is where things start to make sense. While the aesthetics and activities of the culture are unarguably awesome, from the music to the lowriders, tattoos, and fashion sensibilities, it would appear that the Japanese who have adopted the way of the Chicano do so for similar, traditionally driven reasons more so than simply a love for the culture.
Thanks to British filmmakers Louis Ellison and Jacob Hodgkinson, we get a inside glimpse at Japan’s underground Chicano scene and an in-depth look at the people that are driving it forward. The video was shot in Tokyo, Osaka and Hyogo—a clear indication that the culture spans throughout the Land of the Rising Sun—and helps explain how the culture was even introduced there. “When the Lowrider movement got popular in the 1990s, gangs and Cholos were imported from the US as a culture to Japan through Lowrider Magazine.” Check out the video in the jump above, and peep through some of Photographer Jacob Hodgkinson’s images that accompany the project throughout.