Daikoku Futo

Daikoku Futo

A night with Yokohama’s street racers


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on July 2010

Photos by Jeremy Veverka

You’ve seen them in movies, read about them in manga, felt the thunderous screams of their motors reverberating through the streets at night. You’ve heard the legends and the cautionary tales. Perhaps you’ve been intimidated. Perhaps you’ve been intrigued—just enough that you decide to go and meet the mix of speed freaks, motorheads and breakdance junkies that descend on the streets under the cover of night.

You find yourself at Daikoku Futo, an artificial island on the outskirts of Yokohama, and you have never heard Japan this loud. Bikers emblazoned with rising sun motifs, girlfriends in matching helmets clinging to their backs, tear past in a deafening symphony of hydrocarbon flatulence. Vans weighed down with racks of speakers blast bass-heavy beats and occasional snatches of Michael Jackson from their open backs, while girls in baggy pants breakdance in front of the crowd. Men rev their turbos and test the blow-off valves on their tuned Supras, Sylvias, Skylines and Fairlady Zs.

High-octane fuel fires the machines, while coffee, energy drinks and nicotine stoke their masters. Tires squeal. Spectators watch a guy with enough guts to flaunt today’s hardnosed cops skid around a street corner. Yet everyone is surprisingly friendly—after all, foreigners are few among Tokyo’s creatures of the night.

Access: Take the Daikoku Futo exit (B08/B09) off the Bayshore Route.