JDM - General

ZokuSha Meaning and History

The Japanese term ZokuSha 族車 refers to a group of young street racers, with the word Zoku 族 meaning clan or tribe. Zoku is commonly used as a suffix when referring to subcultures within Japan. Small groups started forming during the 1950s and 1960s. But it wasn’t until the 1970s when these groups really started to be referred to as ZokuSha. Among the ZokuSha group appeared other subcultures such as Touge-battlers (Rolling-Zoku), highway racers (Roulette-Zoku), drifters (Dorifto-Zoku), and the controversial Boso tribe, the BozoZoku.

As both ZokuSha and the BozoZoku share a similar car style they are often mistaken for one another. The original meaning of BozoZoku refers to a Japanese Bike gang that usually got in trouble with the law. The bikes used by the Bozo’s tended to be extremely modified with bright colors, customized exhausts, and body panels in order to show their displease with the government. This style was eventually adopted by the car community and by the ZokuSha. And although the ZokuSha and BozoZoku style is fairly similar, the meaning behind the terms is not.

The Style and ZokuSha 族車 Definition

First and foremost, ZokuSha refers to a young group of street racers within Japan. The cars which are used tend to be from the 1970s through the 1990s. Very rarely would you see a newer vehicle be referred to as ZokuSha.

Alike the BozoZoku, ZokuSha also tends to use very obnoxious and creative custom exhausts. It is not uncommon to see exhausts stretching over several feet (outside of the chassis) or styled in various shapes such as a star or heart.

ZokuSha-styled cars mostly utilize large and customized body kits. Large front lips, spoilers, and hoods are a common modification. In comparison, BozoZoku-styled cars tend to have even more severe body modifications, such as extremely large front lips, side skirts, and wheel arches.

ZokuSha-styled cars almost exclusively use Deep-dish wheels which complement the bodywork quite nicely usually in the style of a wide-body kit or severely stretched wheel arches.

BozoZoku Style
ZokuSha Style
ZokuSha Style

The obnoxious style of ZokuSha might not be the most practical, or cheapest way to modify car, but it certainly leaves an impression to be remembered. And as long as there are older era cars from the 60s through 90s on the roads of Japan, the ZokuSha style will likely not disappear anytime soon.


The Japanese word ZokuSha 族車 refers to young people who drive cars which often is racing-inspired, and with a semi-functional design. Among the modifications are loud exhausts, sizable chin lip spoilers, shark nose hood conversions, large fender extensions, racing mirrors, factory spoilers turned into diffusers, and large deep-dish rims. ZokuSha can sometimes be mistaken for the bike gang known as BosoZoku due to their similar style.

E. Lindgren

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