Peter Bjorn and John Feature Yoyogi Dancers

Danny Choo is a guestblogger on Boing Boing. Danny resides in Tokyo, and blogs about life in Japan and Japanese subculture - he also works part time for the empire.
This video, and official release from Peter Bjorn and John, shows a day in the life of a very interesting guy with very big hair, and his dancing comrades. Whether seen as macho to a humorous fault or just so cool we can’t keep up, the dancers in Yoyogi Park have been at this for years.
More videos of what goes on at Yoyogo Park at NihongoNotes. Photo was taken at Harajuku (where Yoyogi Park is) on the day of the iPhone launch - see more photos of the coverage and a related Peter Bjorn and John video in my previous iPhone japan article. Via JapanProbe.


  1. I would like to point out that the director of this film is Andreas Nilsson who is responsible for some of the best video work being done right now. Andreas directed Fever Ray’s (Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife new band) newest video, “If I Had A Heart.” Also check out Madrugada’s “Look away Lucifer.” Here is a link to a large collection of his video for free online!

  2. Wow! A friend and I once stumbled across a similar rockabilly group at dusk in Osaka-jō Kōen and we’d always wondered what it was all about. I had no idea it was so popular.

  3. I find it interesting that none of the people in these photos are making the V sign…. were we misled in that other post?

    I suspect that these people are so far from the epicenter of the origin of the V sign in Japan that it has mutated beyond recognition.

  4. Sigh, I am a huge dork — it’s an official music video, so clearly it’s by THE PEOPLE THE MUSIC VIDEO IS FOR.

  5. This looks much better in really big widescreen at the link in the first post above. The Youtube quality isn’t so great.

  6. These guys are Japanese rockabilly boys. They can be found in large parks in major cities, like Tokyo’s Yoyogi, and my Odori park in Sapporo. They are usually especially chill guys, and are always dancing. They train in groups, and are always combing their hair. Imagine 1950’s greasers in the US, and you have a good idea. And the hair is for real- that style has been the official “toughguy” haircut for post-war Japan. It’s a lifestyle just like rockabilly is here in the US.

  7. I’d just like to warn readers not to make fun of these dancing dudes, they don’t react to well to foreigners joining them for dances, pointing fingers or generally being obnoxious. If you see them observe, snap from photos, but stay away. I was once forced to watch how they beat up a poor American tourist who tried to join them. They are not a pleasant bunch and a reminder that even Japan has dark spots.

  8. Agreed- the ones I joined were a bit more chill, and I happened to be dressed exactly like them when I found them, thus they let me join in a bit and tried to teach me. I wear leather, jeans, biker boots & metal studs as my fashion, and it worked for them.

    Generally, the bigger the hair- the more hostile. It may seem funny to us, but that hair is taken as a definite personality marker in Japan. The ones with pronounced cuts like that are generally NOT FRIENDLY. They are bosozoku and yakuza, in some places.

    Basically, don’t try to join in as you gawk if you-

    1. Are in a large group
    2. Dressed like an obvious tourist or with a baseball cap
    3. Don’t speak Japanese.

    I joined them cause I speak, and I know the subculture to some degree- and most importantly, I was dressed right. Image for these guys is everything- if you break their image, they’ll make you pay just like a greaser would!

  9. Very interesting stuff chaps – is there anywhere I can read up more on this phenomenon (do they have a name)? I have seen them over the years on various BBC documentaries on Japan but was unaware of a dark side. I was shocked, for instance, to see an untidy apartment with a bike in during one shot of this video, as I was under the impression most Japanese abodes were kept in very good order. How that guy gets his hair up though! I was a Psychobilly 20 years ago as a kid and even my modest quiff took forever to stay up.

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