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El Weekender

No 69 

Chicanos Y Lowriders in Japan

While some in our community run away from the lowrider culture/lifestyle, it has found fertile ground for growth. And of all places, Japan. Much like Levi’s, American Music, and the American lifestyle in general, a large part of Japanese youth has embraced not only lowriding but, the “Chicano Onda”. And, to what extent may surprise you.

It is not just about the cars, but about a shared kinship with their American counterparts about family, pride, and attention to detail. They even have Chicano Music DJs and historians of sorts to explain the origin of the Chicano label, as a badge of honor and unity. And if you think this is all new, you would be wrong. Former Lowrider publisher, Alberto Lopez traveled to Japan in 1992 to help organize the first lowrider show in Japan that had over 300 car entries. The lifestyle has steadily grown since then. To include, a Japanese language lowrider magazine, clothing sales, and the export of customized lowriders to the island. And they aint’ cheap, in fact they will pay a premium likely 3 times or more of what you might expect to pay locally.

Even the “King of the Brown Sound”, Little Joe has performed before enthusiastic crowds in Japan during the early 90s and beyond. Some of the most popular rappers in Japan not only perform in Japanese, but also in English and Spanish. You may click on to view a short 7-minute video about the Japanese Chicano lifestyle to find out more. I will close by thanking the young people of Japan for showing Nuestra Raza some love, especially since our country seems to be going in the opposite direction.

By A. Govea


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