Portraits of Tokyo Roller-Zoku Gangs by Denny Renshaw


The following images taken by Denny Renshaw were captured over 5 weeks in 2013 and 2015, shooting at parks, parties, bars and music venues. They depict the Zoku, which translates to tribe or clan, and is used in Japanese to denote the subculture phenomena. A trip to Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park in the Harajuku district and you’ll get a taste of the myriad subcultures the city offers. Roller-zoku, who take influence from the Rockabilly and Rock n’ Roll culture of the 1950s and 1960s are what Renshaw was after when he flew blind to Tokyo to capture this series of images

Having no way to contact them and not knowing exactly when they’d gather, he took his chances in order to photograph these greasers. As opposed to some subcultures, Renshaw noted that the Roller-zoku are of all ages, sporting large pompadours, wearing leather jackets, and riding motorcycles.

It wasn’t easy to get the portraits. Renshaw was actually halted before he could even begin by one of the heads of the clan. “I was stopped so many times trying to create these Rockers photos that it I couldn’t believe it when it happened and it came out my way,” Renshaw shares.

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