“Osaka Prefecture Police VS Osaka Kanjo Zoku (Osaka Tollway Racers)” In summer of 1982, Osaka Police had battled with around 1500 Kanjo Zoku.【Play Back The OPTION】
Published : 2019/09/10 21:17 Modified : 2019/09/18 14:37
OPT Interviews the Osaka Prefecture Police and Hanshin Expressway Public Corporation Officials!
The pride of the Osaka Prefecture Police to battle all 1500 Kanjo zoku
Today’s throwback is a featured article from OPTION Magazine October Issue of 1982: “Osaka Prefecture Police VS Osaka Kanjo Zoku (Osaka Tollway Racers).”
This is a document that reflects the golden age of the “Osaka Kanjo,” where both the most famous and not-so-famous teams had extravagantly rampaged. Furthermore, this is not a one-sided article encouraging street racers, but an honest, genuine report; we compiled various confrontational perspectives through interviews with the Osaka Police, Hanshin Expressway Corporation, and anti-Kanjo zoku racers.
Osaka Prefecture Police VS Osaka Kanjo Zoku
Photo Document Report. Summer of 1982. The camera says it all. The Osaka Kanjo is a one way loop with a lap of 10.4 km. The main stretch has 4 lanes.
Osaka–the infamous mecca of tuned cars. And as a given, there are many street racers. Though, recently there has been troubled feedback on the Osaka Police’s increasingly strict enforcement. What is the actual situation? What perspective do the Osaka Police Headquarters hold? On Saturday, July 31, 1982, we jumped onto the infamous Osaka Kanjo in the middle of the night to investigate.
Saturday Night Osaka Kanjo–an insane, is-this-real-life kind of frenzy
“Even with all this explaining, we’re having a really hard time making the Tokyo guys understand. They just don’t comprehend this craziness,” commented an official from the Osaka Police Headquarters.
Even our interview staff who witnessed this situation was honestly aghast. The sheer craziness blew away their expectations by miles.
“Kansai racers are basically a festival themselves,” they said. And here we were, thinking that we were prepared.
Our fantasies of the racer in stoic pursuit of the run, striving to perfect and improve their speed, had all been blown away and lost. Together with the burning fumes, they disappeared into the Osaka night sky.
Shakotan in traffic, cops conducting all-out arrests, and a series of accidents!
1 AM on the Kanjo, heavy traffic.
No matter where you looked, every car was lowered. Among them were some flashy fender flares and rear wings. Aftermarket rear wings were rare at the time. In Kanto terms, these were similar to boso style. It wouldn’t shock us if we saw these cars simply racing. But the situation was far from calm. In only a single loop, we witnessed car collisions in multiple areas. On our second, we continued to come across new accidents along the way. The traffic was heavy, so these car collisions resembled the level of bumper cars.
“What’s going on here?”
“Eh, it’s expected ’cause newbies.”
The participants’ openness and acceptance of the situation adds to this insane carnival. Truly a riot.
While one would think that the Osaka Police was simply serving as a spectator due to the overwhelming quantity of the zokusha, that was not the case. They were cracking down on them from one end to the other. In just one lap, four major areas were under constant police enforcement. On the next lap, we witnessed another one going down… From one to the next, the law was in full effect.
“Well, there are various types of violations. Parking violations, beginner driver stickers, poor maintenance, safe driving violations, and the list goes on,” a cop told us.
Still, the Kanjo zoku seemed to fully enjoy the traffic-ridden loop. They certainly paid no mind to all of the accidents and the cops arresting and citing their friends, one by one.
“Run alone? That’s stupid, where’s the fun in that? You see all this, right? Even y’all just being here in this moment, you just feel the rush and excitement.” Zoku words to live by, indeed.
“Well, those Kanjo zoku guys aren’t a big problem. They tweak their cars all day and just enjoy doing runs. It’s not like they’re doing any evil. So they’re different from the bosozoku. Osaka’s bosozoku are no good. They’re way younger too. They rampage about with no license, car, or gas, which means they steal from people. But now in Osaka, the bosozoku scene is falling apart. Their leader’s gone. And no one wants or can be the leader because they’d get arrested in an instant,” a cop shared with us.
An Osaka student recalled, “Up until last year, the bosozoku were real flashy. They’d speed in the opposite direction of incoming traffic on Midosuji. But since they revised the diplomatic laws, you don’t hear squat about them.”
The bosozoku had been suppressed. As a result, it’s undeniable that the Kanjo zoku were now the main focus of traffic-related law enforcement.
“Osaka’s Kanjo zoku was crazier 3-4 years ago. The event climax was intense. Everyone parked on the shoulder lanes and watched. Cars wanting to show off teamed up in a three-car formation. And oh man, they’d just light it up. After one group finished, the next group appeared. I shouldn’t really say this, but it sure was a sight to see…” a Hanshin Expressway official personally revealed to us. “But of course, in the eyes of the Expressway public corporation, they are bosozoku,” he concluded.
“As I’ve said before, the Kanjo zoku and bosozoku are different, but we enforce regulations in the same way,” said a cop.
Even if we’re talking about bosozoku or street racers, the actual situation is clearly different between Tokyo and Osaka. As such, it would be unreasonable to apply this Osaka case to relate to other regions.
“Our game of tag is over. Get excited for some news at the end of August.”
Another Osaka officer explained, “At this time, there are around 1500 street racers, specifically the Kanjo zoku. Among them there are ones that are genuine, stoic racers, but there are also the young ones that don’t think about inconveniencing others. They simply do what they want. In this case, we think of our enforcement as broader countermeasures for youth delinquency and not just traffic-related crime…” And thus, their measures against Kanjo zoku are in their final stretch. He continued, “Anyway, we already know most of the Kanjo zoku.” A confident comment and certainly the truth.
When we were on-site, the enforcement vehicle in charge of lights and photos was shining its searchlight on the road. It made sure the rears of the illegal vehicles were clearly visible at night. They captured all license plate numbers. A cop not in uniform in a disguised police car was also checking for any relevant cars and photographing them.
By 3 AM, there was a drastic decrease in the number of Kanjo zoku vehicles that were formerly in the several hundreds. The reason was obvious.
The documentation vehicle had taken over at the branching point, a key point of the loop. An all-out crackdown had begun. Enforcement would stop and cite any car modified even in the slightest way.
Apparently, it was common that the racers would resume and begin gathering out of nowhere.
But on this day, no matter how long we waited, the police did not leave the Kanjo.
At 5 AM, there was sudden rainfall as the skies shifted from night to dawn. Amidst all the rain, we witnessed police cars still stationed in three places, giving citations during our loop.
“We have full understanding of the Kanjo zoku situation, and we have already tracked the owners of the cars in the follow-up. We can’t be playing Tom-and-Jerry forever. Let me just say, the August-September newspaper… look forward to it,” an official from the Traffic Guidance Division concluded firmly.
A modified car certainly does not equal Kanjo zoku.
Nevertheless, it is also true that the two are deeply connected.
Though hard to stomach, law enforcement voiced that “if we don’t crack down on the industry providing such parts, illegal car modification will never disappear.” The Osaka Police is proud of their track record of their bosozoku countermeasures. They are equally pleased with their complete control of Zeroyon (quarter mile drag races) in the southern port and seaside areas.
But when all is said and done, where will those banished from the Kanjo head to next…?
The Osaka Kanjo Golden Era–with its own flair, was distinct from the prime of the Tomei Full Throttle Family.
On September 9, 1982, the Osaka Police’s words had been manifested. The bold heading of “Kanjo Zoku Large-scale Exposure” read on the newspaper, as clear as black and white.
【From OPTION 1982 October Issue】