Whether just making a bit of trouble at the back of the classroom or out picking fights, schoolyard bullies or members of one of those oddly-decked-out motorcycle gangs, delinquents are a sure sign that not all is right. Japanese Delinquents comes in two distinct flavors: Throw-away minor characters, and major (or main) characters.
The visual style of the Japanese delinquent in fiction has remained more consistent than in Real Life. note The description below is an up-to-date and relatively realistic one.
For both types, speaking with rolled Rs (to convey a sense of rage) and dyeing their hair in some form is usual (though the likelihood is greatly increased for major characters), with bleached-blond being the most common variety. A ridiculous pompadour or ri-zento/regent hairstyle that juts out from the forehead like a battering ram is a delinquent hallmark; this is seldom played straight nowadays, especially for main characters.
When first seen a male delinquent character will traditionally be in a distinctive pose: head tilted back and to the side and upper body leaning back with hips thrust out and shoulders hunched forward, with either arms folded or hands in pockets. In more recent works, you'll sometimes instead see the "Slav squat" borrowed from Russian gopniks, a deep crouch with heels touching the ground, body leaning forward, and arms resting on the knees (which is called yankii zuwari or unko zuwari in Japan). Narrowed eyes and an upper lip curled into a sneer typically accompany either pose. In the case of minor antagonists, one of these poses on introduction is practically mandatory.
Other visual identifiers include:
- A facial mask of some kind, especially a surgical one.
- A school uniform with custom modifications, sometimes the sleeves ripped off.
- Excessive piercings and jewellery.
- Tattoos, or for the particularly hardcore, scars (almost Always Male).
- Delinquent Hair.
- Jackets worn over the shoulders.
- Trousers rolled up to just below the knee. Sleeves are often rolled up too.
- Combat pants tucked into boots (aka bontan).
- A Commissar Cap.
- Loafers without socks, or alternatively wooden sandals (geta).
- A twig or blades of straw or grass kept in the mouth.
- For the guys, a thin moustache, if the delinquent is old enough to be able to grow one.
- Weapons tend to be long and blunt (bats, planks, poles, etc.) rather than bladed, especially in comedies and light dramas. This is because it implies less dangerous and more honorable fighting, as well as because the possession of bladed weapons has been strictly regulated in Japan since the Meiji Restoration. Chains and knuckle dusters are popular as well, and wielding nunchaku or using other martial arts weapons is not unheard of. Bokken and shinai are iconic delinquent weapons, often held by leader figures, or sometimes heroic examples to denote an aura of nobility and honor. In extreme cases, a delinquent may even wield a real katana outside of school grounds, but this is usually reserved for the most vicious characters or the most comedic exaggerations. Alternately, the reliance on improvised weapons can be exaggerated by making the character an Improbable Weapon User; this is particularly likely for major characters.
Female delinquents often have their seifuku in some form of purposeful disarray—unknotted scarf, loose socks or no socks at all, partially unbuttoned top, shirt flaps outside the skirt, and the skirt itself either very shortened or very lengthened (the latter having been especially popular in the 1970s and '80s, the former having mostly - but not completely - displaced it in the late 90s). A coat or sports jacket (more often than not a nagaran, an oversized longcoat), either over the regular jacket or replacing it, also indicates a tough cookie. They will sometimes be portrayed as kogals (who flaunt their disposable income), or some other subculture, or engaging in less violent inappropriate behavior. They'll typically also carry weapons like long rulers and sticks too.
Their behaviour is a general blend of everything you would expect from someone called a delinquent: getting into fights, disturbing the peace, and generally just not getting along with society at large. Their interests, if they have any, tend to be mainly baseball, motorbikes and Professional Wrestling and/or martial arts, due to their penchant for violence and physical fighting, though most of their brawling boils down to Good Old Fisticuffs. If they are trained practitioners themselves, they will be invariably of the Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy type and will harass any fighting character they see as not as tough as them. Villainous examples and mooks are more likely to rely on numbers and weaponry than protagonist delinquents, who often fight unarmed and man-to-man or outnumbered, but even a "good" delinquent tends to fight dirty.
The minor, throw-away type are essentially there to provide trouble for the main cast to clean up. The major character type, on the other hand, carries at least some the above traits, but is almost always a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
In Japanese, delinquents are referred to, both in real life and in fiction, as yankii (as in "yankee", because of their rebelliousness and Hawaiian-patterned shirts they sometimes wore rather than an affinity with the USA), while their leaders are called banchou — a banchou powerful enough to command several subordinate banchou, usually ruling multiple schools, is called a soban. Female leaders can be called sukeban (which has also become associated to all female delinquents, leader or not) or onna banchou. Motorcycle and automobile racers are usually considered a separate subculture of delinquent, known as Bōsōzoku or hashiriya. More recent works may feature color gangs; these guys draw heavy influence from American street gangs, and can be distinguished from the usual riff-raff with their baggy clothing and use of colors as identifiers (jewellery and bandannas are optional).
The Yakuza, Japan's indigenous organized crime syndicates, tend to have little respect for delinquents. In their eyes, Yakuza are professional criminals with a sense of tradition, whereas delinquents are just upstart punks with an attitude. Some very low-ranking yakuza (called "chinpira") do intermingle with the yankii and their close relatives, the bosozoku and hashiriya, mainly because they are a prime method of trafficking illegal substances. Some yankii and bosozoku like to ape yakuza styles, so many civilians are unaware of this hierarchy or see this as a distinction without a difference, lumping all yankii, bosozoku, and hashiriya with hardcore yakuza.
Unlike street gangs, Japanese delinquents tend to focus less on profitable crime (in fiction, at least) and more on delinquency as a lifestyle. Loitering, vandalizing and brawling serve as a pastime as much as an act of rebellion, though shoplifting and shaking down the meek are not unheard of. When conflicts between delinquents occur, they tend either to be unarmed duels over matters of hierarchy or honor, or fullscale rumbles between rival groups. Gang affiliation is typically based on what school you attend, rather than a voluntary enlistment, and turf wars usually break out over toughs from an outsider school showing their faces or making a scene in an arcade or shopping district within a local school's region. Occasionally, resident delinquents may challenge thugs from a rival school for bullying or mugging classmates they would themselves bully or mug, as a matter of pride.
For delinquents in general, including the Western types, see Delinquents, Greaser Delinquents and Scooter-Riding Mod (for the delinquents of The '50s and The '60s), The Idiot from Osaka (for a specific variety of Japanese delinquents), Gangbangers (for delinquent gangs), Half-Witted Hillbillynote and Hillbilly Horrors (for rural/Southern American delinquents), Dublin Skanger (for Irish delinquents), The Bogan (for Australian delinquents), The Quincy Punk, Football Hooligans and The Yardies (for British delinquents), and Lower-Class Lout.
Subtrope of Teen Rebellion.
Examples of minor characters
- Godzilla (2014) has a scene where Ford Brody must retrieve his father Joe from a Japanese jail. Before his dad is brought out to him, he sees a delinquent teen being brought into the lobby, whereupon the teen gets fussed at by his parents.
- Subverted in the case of Kakeru Sunahara of Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note. This trope is how people see him, as he has been arrested for beating up an adult. But it turns out the person in question has been Tampering with Food and Drink. No longer has that reputation later on in the series as he is more well-known as a Young Entrepreneur. Aya thinks he's a Nice Guy throughout. And no, he doesn't even look like one.
- Sukeban Deka: the live action version of this manga started the Delinquent Hero genre. A former female gang member is recruited by the Tokyo police to clean up the gangs in the school. The title translates as "Delinquent Detective." She famously uses a Yo-Yo as a weapon, with her badge hidden inside it.
- Super Sentai:
- In episode 30 of Engine Sentai Go-onger, Sousuke and Ren get brainwashed into baddies; while Sousuke wears the jacket and pants, Ren goes the 'yankii' route with a Hawaiian shirt.
- A similar example in the previous year's Juken Sentai Gekiranger, with Ran being turned into a sukeban. Then they learn that their mentor Miki used to be a real one.
- Also, in an episode of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, Ian and Utsusemimaru dress up as delinquents in order to help Souji's Love Interest hook up with him by getting him to defend her from their advances. Then Amy, who is not in on the act, comes and beats them both up.
- An episode of Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger has Dan and Mei act this way after their snow cones are spiked with a potion concocted by Tottopat. They get better.
- "Konbini" by the Japanese comedy duo Brief & Trunks is about a bored woman going to the local convenience store at night. When she arrives, she double-thinks going inside because a group of punks are hanging around the entrance. All they do is harrass her a bit by asking if she's wearing a bra. In the music video, one of the delinquents wears a bandana and while the other has blond Delinquent Hair.
- Mondo Oowada/Owada from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a direct parody of a Japanese delinquent, attending Hope's Peak Academy as the Ultimate Biker Gang Leader. He is hostile, rolls his rs quite often, and has a pompadour to boot.
- Higurashi: When They Cry features a gang of reoccuring delinquents with pompadours who pop up. In one arc, Rika intentionally provokes them to prove that she's "lucky" in this universe.
- Most of the Tokimeki Memorial games sometimes pit you against delinquents during dates, and you'll have to fight them Final Fantasy battles-style. When defeated, their Banchou comes to fight you; if you defeat him, he'll acknowledge you as the new Banchou and will make excuses for his underlings' rudeness. In Tokimeki Memorial 2, the delinquent gang is fleshed out (but still as secondary characters), with their Banchou revealed as Kaoru Ichimonji aka the Knight Templar Big Brother of one of the datable girls (Akane), and the Banchou of the first game, and having under its order a Quirky Miniboss Squad of 4 members known as the Four Heaven Kings, all having a specific name, face and personnality, and all having a role in the aforemented datable girl's storyline.
Examples of major characters
- Ichiko from Shimotsuma Monogatari (released in the US as Kamikaze Girls).
- Most of the cast from Crows Zero and Crows Zero 2 (both loose adaptations by Takashi Miike of the manga Crows)
- Many "pink movies" from the '70s featured gang girls for titillation: Sukeban Guerrilla, Girl Boss Sukeban and the Stray Cat Rock series are some representative titles.
- The Warped Ones: An aspiring gang member, his buddy the rapist, and his girlfriend the prostitute.
- Most of the cast from Volcano High School, which is basically a live-action of Rival Schools.
- Suicide Squad sees Katana wear a modified version of her New 52 outfit that evoke the bosozoku variety, wearing an open shirt with a sarashi covering her breasts.
- Cruel Story of Youth: Kiyoshi is supposed to be a student but he's really a petty criminal hoodlum. He rapes Makoto, also a student. After she falls in love with him, he employs her in a scheme where she attracts wealthy older men, only for Kiyoshi to beat and rob them.
- Everything Goes Wrong: Jiro is a teen who instead of getting ready to go to college is hanging out with other rebellious teens, drinking, smoking, whoring, and committing petty crimes. He's filled with rage after finding out his mom is The Mistress of a wealthy businessman.
- Ryota in Black Rat is one, having red-dyed hair styled in a pompadour and pierced ears, wearing his white school shirt open over a black t-shirt, smoking constantly (even in school), and riding a motor scooter. He is also shown to know his way around weaponry, and builds a spear to fight the Rat.
- The Miracles Of The Namiya General Store follows Atsuya, Shota and Kohei, three deliquents who enter the Namiya General Store to find shelter, and somehow receive some letter from the past where the owner, Yūji Namiya, was still running it and answering to people's letters writing about their troubles.
- New Transfer Student Nao from season 6 of 3-Nen B-Gumi Kinpachi-sensei is mistaken for a delinquent when he's actually a transgender boy, thus explaining his long skirt.
- Kamen Rider:
- Gentaro Kisaragi of Kamen Rider Fourze is ostensibly a Lighter and Softer take on this trope, as he doesn't belong to a gang and is actually a very friendly guy. He more than fills the "ridiculous hair" and "good at fighting" requirements, though.
- In Kamen Rider: The Next, Takeshi Hongo has an epically rowdy class that would fit right in in any Save Our Students film. They get less rowdy when they see him stopping cars and motorcycles with his bare hands, unsuited. Now that'll Scare 'Em Straight.
- Most of the main and supporting characters in Majisuka Gakuen are female yankii (except in season 3).
- Dump Matsumoto and the Atrocious Alliance from All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling in the '80s, who were massively over as heels by being the exact kind of bullies that the target audience of schoolgirls were likely to know in real life.
- After team no respect set out to destroy the legacy of Hayabusa in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, including but not limited to actually banning the Hayabusa gimmick, he eventually became the delinquent known as H.
- ATTACK on MIKA has examples of these from time to time. Unlike most examples, they can be very helpful. For example this video, they helped out a blind girl who ran away from her parents.
- Lazy Bum YAKUZA: Tsuyoshi Noguchi became a delinquent after the hardships he endured at the orphanage after his shoplifting mother ran off when the authorities caught him. It becomes even worse when he meets his father Masaru Iwaki.
- Manga Angel Neko Oka: Kengo used to be a delinquent until he fell in love with honor student Kurumi. He gave up his delinquent ways and studied hard to get in the same high school as her.
- Manga Character Sprinklers: Yuto in some stories is often depicted as a former delinquent who attempts to disguise himself as an introverted student.
- Manga Heaven: Kazukata's older sister became delinquent after the siblings grew distant as they got older due to her clinginess. Despite this, she still cares about him.
- Rin from Refreshing Stories is frequently a member of a motorcycle gang usually called the Sukatto Union.
- Reina's room: Natsuki is a famous delinquent who is feared by everyone, though she has a soft spot for Kouichi.
- RomCom Manga Chan: The episode I Was Cheated By My Girlfriend, The Scariest Girl In Class Became Sweet To Me Instead [sic] stars Mary Toyota as a notorious delinquent who never lost a fight, but turns out to be also naïve when it comes to romance.
- Gang Leader-senpai from Senpai Club is one of these. Apparently he's been this way all his life because the ending theme shows him ten years ago as a delinquent looking little boy with a sarashi on. Gang Leader-senpai apparently has a yellow smiley face tattoo on his shoulder that really kills his image, though he likes it apparently.
- Sota was a delinquent before entering high school however that does not mean that he can be pushed around.
- A wannabe delinquent named Kitsune pretends to be Sota so he can intimidate people and extort them of their money. It eventually backfires when he tries to intimidate the real Sota and claims to be Sota in front of him, he also calls Sota a midget, causing him to snap and punch Kitsune in the stomach.
- Shuto claims to be a former leader of a delinquent gang and uses it to bully people in the football team. He is later revealed to be full of crap when Sota scares him off after he stole and trashed Yurika's oranges.
- Uta's RomCom Manga Dubs: Marina is a punk girl who falls in love with Kento after saving her from several delinquents.
- Mob Psycho 100:
- Onigawara Tenga is very much a classic example, right down to his massive pompadour. As the leader of Salt Middle School's delinquent gang, his actions (and their consequences) have large impacts between the start of the Teruki Arc and the start of the Claw Arc.
- Teruki Hanazawa also starts as the Urabanchou (Hidden Leader) of Black Vinegar Middle School's delinquents before being humiliated by Mob during one of his blackouts. Mob himself doesn't really count, though the Salt Mid gang proclaims him as their own Urabanchou under the title of "White T Poison" after said blackout.
- Sleepless Domain: Knuckle Thrash is a Magical Girl who seems to be based in part on the sukeban archetype, with a pair of magical brass knuckles as her weapon of choice. She's usually somewhat reserved and no-nonsense, but there are hints that she comes from a rebellious past; at one point, she mentions having sworn off getting into fistfights after she became a magical girl. The artist herself has even drawn her in traditional sukeban attire, complete with a leather jacket and black Sailor Fuku.
- Japanese singer Nanase Aikawa is known for being a former sukeban. Her music was/is popular with bosozoku.
- The members of the band Blankey Jet City were bosozoku in their youth.
- Visual Kei was born from bosozoku and yankii in The '80s, when both preferred Hard Rock / Heavy Metal / Punk Rock. Atsushi Sakurai of BUCK-TICK was a yankii. X Japan in 1987-92 was more than half bosozoku - Yoshiki, Toshi, and Taiji were all bosozoku, with hide and Pata not being so but easily falling in. As a result, many of the first round of signings for both Extasy Records and Free Will Records were very heavy on ex or current bosozoku or yankii, and at least one band - the Extasy signed Tokyo Yankees - was not only entirely made up of yankii but a Shout-Out to the subculture. While rap and hip-hop are now preferred among many active younger bosozoku and yankii (and Visual Kei became far less connected to them through the late The '90s), that was how the style and scene originated.
- Kishidan is a Japanese group which uses bosozoku/yankii aesthetics as part of them, included the use of motorcycles and weapons from bosozoku as well from Greaser Delinquents. Most of his songs are referred to bosozoku themes, as well songs to cheer up. Their songs are used in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan games and in one ending of Naruto Shippuden.
- Lead singer Daishi from Psycho le Cému in various of their videoclips uses this attire and personality, especially in the songs Yume Kazaguruma where the band members are dressed as various japanese stereotypes being Daishi the bosozoku, and ''Love is Dead where he appears as a yankii (a Shout-Out of Jotaro Kujo.)
- Japanese comedians Masaki Sata and Kiyoto Omizo, known as the Bad Boys, are former biker gang members, with Sata leading a large group in Fukuoka. Though he now sports a mohawk, Sata previously had a large pompadour. The duo often dress in yankee fashion while performing.
- In the 1980s a photographer named Satoru Tsuda came up with Namennayo, photos of adorable little kittens being adorable little delinquents. It caught on in the US for a while under the name Perlorian and expanded to include non-delinquent kitties.