It’s hard to define the term Yanki/Yankee. The word Yanki a corruption of the Western word Yankee, a derogatory term. One blogger refered to it as the Eastern equivalent to white trash, or since I’m from Australia, a Bogan – who are uneducated young women and men who dye their hair, wear trashy clothes, smoke, drink, and disregard societies rules. They’re also famous for being obnoxious, rude and dealing with issues with their fists. – True, but not all have bad hair cuts. Basically its a word synonymous with delinquent youth. And although it is said some yanki’s would be recruited into the yakuza, or Japanese organized crime, this is not always true. Many yanki’s simply joined the regular workforce and lived regular, productive lives after graduation. Being a yanki was simply a way to enjoy youth and lash out at society similar to the punk rock movement in the West.
In Japan its a sub-culture that long been the boogeyman of contemporary Japanese culture. Which makes it that more entertaining. Since its inception in the 70s and early 80s the sub-culture has provided some source material for 1000s of Japanese mangas, and kick ass movies like Battle Royale and Kamikaze Girls. The term applicable to both boys and girls.
One such film that introduced the term to the Western audience was Crows Zero and Crows Zero 2. The movies based off a popular manga that revolved around the lives of students at Suzuran High School, also known as the The School of Crows. The film sparking invested interest in the yanki/delinquent genre which resulted in an influx of manga’s, movies and dramas capitalizing on the success of the films. Gachi-ban one of those films, which has since gone to win its own acclaim.
Moreover, Crows Zero also started another troupe present in modern-day yanki dramas and movies which is ikemen and fighting – Gokusen, Rookies, Clover, QP. With the recent trend, in the last four years, to be talent agencies casting young male actors. Similar to Tenimyu boys acting in Tokusatsu, the yanki genre is now overrun with talents from D-BOYS, Johnny’s and Associates and LDH acting in recent titles such as Rokudenashi Blues, Sugarless, Bakaleya High School, Bad Boys J (Kamen Teacher).
As a fan of the genre its interesting to see this new trend and the different interpretations of what it means to be a Yanki. Each drama offers a point of difference but at the core are about unique aesthetics, choreographed fight sequences – some more realistic than others – and leaning the true meaning of charisma, friendship and leadership.
Now onto the titles. In no particular order.
|SUGARLESS NTV/ 2012
GENRE: YOUTH, DELINQUENT, HIGH SCHOOL, COMEDY
STARRING: SHIRAHAMA ALAN, SANO REO, SUZUKI NOBUYAKI, MACHIDA KEITA, SOIKICHI, MASAHIRO USUI (D-BOYS), ENDO YUYA
|Shiba Gaku (Shirahama Alan) has transferred to Kujima High School, a neighbourhood yankee school that boasts some of the strongest students. Shiba has one ambition in life, to reach the position of TOP – but to achieve that he has beat the best in the school, a senior named Syake (Sokichi). Gaku immediately picks a fight with Syake, but is cut off by students who demand that he defeat them first. Shima promptly starts provoking other students and looses successive fights, but his demeanour and attitude catches the attention of the schools strongest; first years Mamuro (Suzuki Nobuyaki) , Urabe (Machida Keita), Shiro (Sano Reo), and No. 2 in the school Kirio (Usui Masahiro). Can Shiba beat them all and reach the top?|
|BAD BOYS J NTV/ 2013
GENRE: YOUTH, DELINQUENT, COMEDY
STARRING: NAKAJIMA KENTO, NIKAIDO TAKASHI, HASHIMOTO RYOSUKE, SANO KAZUMA, IWAMOTO HIKARU, YASUI KENTARO, FUKASAWA TATSUYA, WATANABE SHOTA
|In Hiroshima the strongest gang is known as “Beast” led by Hidenori Danno (Nikaido Takashi). Second is “Nights” run by the charismatic Hiro (Hashimoto Ryosuke), while the third is “Gokuraku Cho” a band of brothers that fight underneath the rule of Shun. But when Tsukasa Kiriki (Nakajima Kento), a transfer student beats Shun, things start to change, Kiriki now the reluctant 8th generation leader of the gang.|
|SHIRITSU BAKALEYA KOKO NTV/2012
GENRE: YOUTH, DELINQUENT, HIGH SCHOOL, DRAMA, ROMANCE
STARRING: MORIMOTO SHINTARO, MATSUMURA HOKUTO, TAKAKI YUYA, TANAKA JURI, JESSE LEWIS, KOCHI YUGO, UCHI HIROKI, KUBOTA MASATAKA, SANO KAZUMA
|“BAKA” is a school known for troublemakers and low test scores. “Cattleya” on the other hand is a prestigious girls school, educating young women from rich families. What happens when the two schools merge?|
|ROOKIES TBS/ 2008
GENRE: YOUTH, DELINQUENT, HIGH SCHOOL, SPORTS
STARRING: ICHIHARA HAYATO, KOIDE KEISUKE, SHIROTA YU, AKIYOSHI NAKAO, SOUSUKE TAKOKA, KIRITANI KENTA, SATO TAKERU, IGARASHI SHUNJI
|After being suspended for a year due to causing a violent brawl at a match, the Futakotamagawa baseball club which is composed of thugs and yankees, is little but a shell of what it used to be. The members preferring to smoke, gamble and have sex instead of hitting baseballs. However under the new guidance of teacher Kawato that changes, as the members rediscover their dream of going to the Koshien High School Baseball tournament. However, the road to Koshien is far from easy as many obstacles await them.|
RISOU NO MUSUKO
YANKEE BOKOU NI KAERU
YANKEE-KUN TO MEGANE-CHAN