Japanese Delinquents

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Vs-gedo.png

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 come 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, - since at least the 1988 release of Sakigake Otokojuku.[1] 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 the major-character type), 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. Other visual identifiers include:

  • Bandanas.
  • A facial mask of some kind, especially a surgical one.
  • Piercings and jewellery.
  • Jackets worn over the shoulders.
  • Trousers rolled up to just below the knees. Sleeves are also often rolled up.
  • Loafers without socks.
  • Combat pants tucked into boots.
  • Weapons tend to be long blunt ones (bats, planks, poles, etc) rather than bladed ones, especially in comedies and light dramas. This is because a) it implies less dangerous and more honorable fighting, b) the possession of bladed weapons is strictly regulated in Japan and c) knife crime is rare enough in Japan that this is probably the case in real life.

The minor, throw-away type is a general blend of everything you'd expect from someone called a delinquent: getting into fights, disturbing the peace, and generally just not getting along with society at large. If they attend school, their school jacket is likely left open. If not, they'll have some other jacket to leave open, will likely not be wearing a shirt, and will have white bandage-style wrapping around their abdominal area. Female delinquents tend to favour full length school skirts. They 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, or at least portrayed as a somewhat more sympathetic figure. Particularly, the open jacket can be left out (though often it is not).

Female delinquents often have their seifuku in some form of purposeful disarray - unknotted scarf, loose socks against regulation, partially unbuttoned or knotted top, or the skirt hiked up, though given the average length of an anime uniform skirt this may not be noticeable. Rolled-up sleeves and an unusually long skirt also indicate 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.

In Japanese, delinquents are referred to, both in real life and in fiction, as yanki (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. Girls can be called sukeban or onna banchou. Motorcycle and automobile racers are usually considered a separate subculture of delinquent, known as bousouzoku.

The Yakuza, Japan's indigenous organized crime syndicates, tend to have very little respect for delinquents. In their eyes, they're professional criminals with a sense of tradition, whereas yankis are just young punks with an attitude.

For delinquents in general, including the Western types, see Delinquents and Lower Class Lout.

Examples of Japanese Delinquents include:

Examples of minor characters[edit | hide | hide all]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Azumanga Daioh (parodied, when Chiyo-chan and company dressed up as delinquents during the Sports Festival)
    • Also parodied during Kaorin's hatsuyume (the first dream of the new year), when all of the girls (except Sakaki) are wearing face masks and long skirts, implying gang membership. Then Sakaki rides in on a white horse, knocks them down, and sweeps Kaorin away. She (Kaorin) wakes upwas quite disappointed to wake up just then.
  • Bleach (particularly in the flashbacks of Ichigo and Sado's past)
  • Great Teacher Onizuka (if you're not sure what the minor-type is supposed to look like, see the class Onizuka deals with in the first couple of episodes)
  • Half of the extras in Tenshi na Konamaiki. (The entertainment value of the show went down every time they showed up, too.)
  • In the baseball episode of Excel Saga, the whole class is made of these ridiculous stereotypes. The toughest of the bunch has a pompadour haircut that extends a good fifteen feet from his forehead and appears to be prehensile...
  • Rin's motorcycle gang (and in the manga, the all-female gang led by Miku) in Midori no Hibi.
  • The Zokugaku Chameleons from Eyeshield 21 are an entire team of minor-character delinquents, except for team captain Rui Habashira, who's more like a secondary character (and placed 5th in the latest character popularity poll).
  • The "Bancho Rengoku" (Gang Leader Alliance) attacks Momotsuki Gakuen in episode 13 of Pani Poni Dash!. They consisted of a Girl Ninja, A 50-foot man and a talking bull. There's also the character of Yanki, who dresses like a delinquent but is just a fat, goofy-looking doofus.
  • See Yankumi's students in Gokusen. Ironically one of the teachers is a real Yakuza princess, compared to the delinquent students in her class. Being delinquents, most of them are too dense to have figured it out.
  • Some secondary characters in Slam Dunk are delinquents, in a wide range of positions from street gangs to players in rival teams. As mentioned below, tmain character used to be one of these in the past.
  • An attack on girls wearing inappropriately high heels in Case Closed reminds Chief Megure of an older case where some delinquent, long-skirt wearing girls were targets of a hit-and-run driver. The Sole Survivor of the case is currently his wife.
  • Jirô in Gokinjo Monogatari. The other characters sometimes start talking in delinquent slang while he looks at them with a pissed expression from the background.
  • Light kills a delinquent in Death Note while experimenting with its power.
  • In Full Metal Panic Fumoffu, a gang of delinquents attempt to mess with Sousuke, first by picking a fight with him and then kidnapping Kaname, only to find they are not prepared to deal with someone like Sousuke. Though to be fair, there aren't many people that are prepared to deal with someone like Sousuke.
  • Those Two Guys Inukawa and Nekoyama from Boku No Tsukuru Sekai.
  • Episode 17 of Seto no Hanayome is a spoof of this idea, with Akeno being forced into being a gang leader.
  • Lots of these in Holyland.
  • In the comedic High School AU of Neon Genesis Evangelion Petit Eva: Evangelion@School, Unit-01 is depicted as a yankii, and called "Evancho".
  • In Helen ESP, Oguri's brother Midou is one, though he ends up reforming.
  • Tiger and Bunny's first drama CD shows that Kotetsu Kaburagi toed the line of delinquency as a teenager, although he'll protest. It's not his fault that his self-prescribed superhero training required skipping classes to beat up street thugs.
  • Maid Sama's cast are forced to go on a "rescue mission" (and end up forgetting why they went anyway) only to have the Three Idiots make up with an old ally. They all dress up in delinquent-style clothing for the infiltration.
  • Kodaka, the protagonist of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, is mistaken for one by his peers due to his naturally-blond hair and ostracized as a result; his reputation is shown to have some benefits as well, however, which he doesn't mind exploiting.
  • Ryuuji, the protagonist of Toradora!, is similarly feared by most other students due to his intimidating face, which he inherited from his father - a violent yakuza.
  • Aruma, the protagonist of Sacred Seven is in a similar situation, although the real yankees pick on him themselves.
  • Angel Densetsu is the likely inspiration for the three protagonist examples above.
  • The class of Battle Royale features a small group of delinquent males led by Kiriyama. An even smaller group of females is led by Souma. Both are especially hardcore examples who get involved in serious and violent crime.
  • Each and every student of Ishiyama High in Beelzebub.
  • The Capsules, Kenda's bousouzoku gang from Akira, and many of their classmates.
  • In Fruits Basket, there was a trio of middle school aged yanki wannabes who tried to pick a fight with Uotani after stalking her for over an hour. Uotani is easily able to talk some sense into them.
  • Blassreiter features a particularly Complete Monster (specifically Teens Are Monsters) group of delinquents who terrorize everyone in their path from fellow schoolmates to Useless Adults with no fear of reprisal (their ability to manipulate characters and to escape karmic retribution is rage-inducing, but largely for how obvious a rage plant they are). Physical and verbal dog kicking abound, in addition to driving a major character's friend to suicide. These three school kids seem to run their neighborhood, and for all we know the entire country of Japan, with an iron fist until their reign eventually comes to an end as they are fittingly murdered during the second arc of the series, but the sour taste of their deeds doesn't wash out right away, as much a result of the implausibility of their overblown dog kicking as the heinousness of it.
  • Subverted for multiple times in Daily Lives of High School Boys. Motoharu is called one and looked like one, but he's more a Nice Guy. This goes with most of the Sanada North's School Council sans the School Council President; all of them have a serious case of Face of a Thug despite being actually sensible and well-mannered guys. Lampshaded when the other school's Student Council arrives at the council room and first thought they went into a delinquents' office by mistake.
  • Some minor annoyances in Urusei Yatsura are delinquents who are too stupid to stay away from Tomobiki High.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 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.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Mooks of the school level in No More Heroes.
  • Just about everyone in River City Ransom. Well, except the shop keepers, waiters, children, the old man at the sauna, Roxy, and Ryan. But still!
  • 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 the Knight Templar Big Brother of one of the datable girls, 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[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Nearly everyone in Rokudenashi Blues is a delinquent, although the main characters try not to pick fights.
  • Pretty much everybody in Cromartie High School is a delinquent, although they split their time equally between having odd conversations and fighting rival schools.
  • Durarara!! gives us Kida Masaomi, ex-leader of the Yellow Scarves, Ryuugamine Mikado, current leader of the Dollars, and Shizuo, when he was in high school, although that wasn't entirely by choice but just all those myriad Berserk Buttons flooding to the surface.
    • Many of the characters here are members of the Dollars, who aren't your usual delinquents since most of them are regular people who joined for kicks. There's another gang of note who are really the only one from the show that really qualifies, the Yellow Scarves, which used to be in power some time ago. Izaya seems to put down Saika's children as another faction that has infiltrated the other two.
  • Tetsuo Shima and Shotaro Kaneda in Akira, plus the rest of the Capsules (Kaisuke, Yamagata, etc.) are a violent motorcycle gang. They're attending a reform school, but its goal of turning them into productive members of society seems to be failing - badly.
  • Persona 4: The Animation has Kanji.
  • Ichigo Kurosaki in Bleach. Subverted as most of the fights Ichigo got into were people picking fights with him, often because of his hair, which is naturally strawberry blonde.
  • Battle Royale had a clique of delinquents/thugs in the class, the most notable one being Kazuo Kiriyama.
  • Eikichi Onizuka himself, and many others, in Great Teacher Onizuka.
  • Mazinger Z's Boss is a classic anime example.
  • Keisuke Takahashi in Initial D (he was at one time, anyway... it becomes a minor plot point in Fourth Stage)
  • Hayato Gokudera in Katekyo Hitman Reborn! Kyouya Hibari and his followers, though they are also the Disciplinary Committee and are delinquent only in the name of their school which Hibari really really loves. Ironic much?
  • Seiji Sawamura in Midori no Hibi. Sure, he gets into fights, argues with teachers, and does horribly in classes, but if you so much as touch one of the students of HIS school, he will punch you through your car.
    • And his sister's way tougher than him.
  • Sanosuke Sagara in Rurouni Kenshin. Though not a school student, he fits in every other respect.
  • Takane from Bakuretsu Tenshi is at the same time a reformed Delinquent, a Badass Longseifuku, and The Idiot From Osaka.
  • Souichirou Nagi, Bob Makihara, and Bunshichi Tawara in Tenjou Tenge.
  • Yusuke Urameshi in Yu Yu Hakusho
    • Kazuma Kuwabara fits the trope even better than Yusuke, since not only is he a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but he has an open jacket, wears a Sarashi, and has a bright red pompadour.
    • Two of the three relatively minor characters Genkai recruits for a Secret Test of Character and the story arc that follows. They don't have a very big part, but they do show up in the background for the entire arc.
  • Genzo Souga in Tenshi na Konamaiki.
  • Tsunoda in Chou Kuse ni Narisou.
  • Ryu from Shaman King.
  • Ikki from Air Gear.
  • Madoka Ayukawa in Kimagure Orange Road is an ex-sukeban, and she's still feared and hated due to the bad fame she adquired.
  • Saki Asamiya from the anime and live-action versions of Sukeban Deka.
  • Eyeshield 21 also has Jumonji, Kuroki, and Togano (the "Ha-Ha" Brothers, from habit of going "Hah?" in sequence when confused), three punks who initially pick on Sena, but end up getting recruited as linemen for the Devil Bats and becoming his friends.
  • Honorable mention: Kagome's trio of friends at school interpret her evasive descriptions of Inuyasha as describing a yankii boyfriend.
  • Arisa Uotani (and in her teenage years, Honda Tohru's mother, Kyoko) in Fruits Basket.
  • Kenji Harima from School Rumble fits as one of the major-character type, complete with getting into fights, riding a big bike, and wearing an open jacket.
  • Hanamichi Sakuragi and Hisashi Mitsui from Slam Dunk. Mitsui even was a gang leader, and after his conversion his fellows became supporters of the basketball team.
  • Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh is mistaken for one of these: Tall, Dark and Bishoujo + totally inexpressive + unusually skilled athlete + Kamineko hurts her hand = everyone assuming she's a Delinquent who loves picking fights for quite a few episodes of the series. During the school athletic festival, she and Kagura even hung a lampshade on it by dressing up as delinquents... boy delinquents, but delinquents nonetheless.
  • Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter) from Sailor Moon is another reformed delinquent. She was originally designed as a smoker and sukeban leader in Codename: Sailor V, but in the spinoff just kept the pseudo-yankii design of a long skirt and curly hair.
    • Slightly deconstructed: she keeps the long skirt from her old school because there wasn't anything in her size (this is why her uniform is different than Usagi's and Ami's, despite going to the same school) and it has been stated that her curly hair is natural.
  • Airs Blue from Infinite Ryvius, a gang leader who gets his hands on the only gun on the Ryvius.
  • Masaru Daimon of Digimon Savers is a banchou and a street fighter, and it really shows.[2] He actually needs to punch a Digimon to trigger his DigiSoul, and more often than not his punches do more damage than any of the ally Digimon. Meanwhile, BanchouLeomon is pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a humanoid lion themed after a banchou; however, he instead fills a mentor role.
  • The casts of the Hiroshi Takahashi mangas Crows and Worst are almost entirely composed of delinquents, specifically Harumichi Bouya and Tsukishima Hana, the respective protagonists. The opponents they encounter can be divided into two distinct groups: Rivals (delinquents who respect the codes of honor and companionship in high school gang warfare) and Bad Guys (jerks).
  • Tomoya Okazaki and Youhei Sunohara in Clannad are known as these, due to their tendency to skip classes. Sunohara's tendencies to pick a fight and be naughty (but always fails) doesn't help. However, the real delinquent would be Sakagami Tomoyo, who actually became (in)famous for it. By the time the story starts, she renounces her delinquency to be eligible to become the Student Council President.
  • Jin Akutsu from The Prince of Tennis.
  • The entire main cast of Yankee-Kun to Megane-Chan (Flunk Punk Rumble in English trans) is made up of people who are, used to be, or everyone is convinced are delinquents.
  • Katsuya Kimura from Hell Teacher Nube. Waaay older than he should be for a fifth-grader, smokes, often associates with less than savory elements, openly lusts for Miki, and often the root of serious trouble for Nube and his classmates. Then again, he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold that would put his life on the line for his friends, loves animals, is very kind when yuou get to know him, and is unbelievably protective of his little sister Manami.
  • Haruka Minami from Minami-ke apparently had a history of delinquency as many characters speak of her having been a 'legendary' banchou. She spends most of her screentime being Ms. Fanservice and a Yamato Nadeshiko, but the heavy handed way she solves a few problems hints that the rumors might be true.
  • Mamoru Takamura from Hajime no Ippo. Even in the ring, he rocks the pompadour and has the extreme Jerkass personality to match. He started boxing in order to keep out of trouble and it took him far. Also, Takuya Kimura and Masaru Aoki, though they had to reconsider their delinquent status once they ran into the force of nature that is Takamura.
    • Takeshi Sendoh and Ryuuhei Sawamura as well. In Sendoh's backstory, we learn that he actually became a delinquent and gang-leader in order to protect his classmates.
  • Yuuichi from My-HiME (both the anime and manga, although the circumstances are different in each) used to be a delinquent until he ran into Shiho, who helped him overcome those tendencies and has looked up to him as a "big brother figure" ever since.
  • Jotaro Kujo of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, as well as his uncle Josuke. Both are actually quite smart, but have a Berserk Button that is too easily pressed.
  • The main cast in Angel Densetsu. The scariest looking of the bunch, however is The Messiah, and manages to mellow them all down. (Kuroda and Ogisu remain totally useless people, so they do not count). MostAll of the guidance counsellors too.
  • Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto, at the beginning of the series. He even gets the standard yankii uniform during the High School AU ending credits.
  • Joey Wheeler/Katsuya Jounouchi from Yu-Gi-Oh!, before the show begins.
  • Yandere Kanojo has several, most prominently the female lead, Reina Ryuuzaki, as well as some of her old delinquent friends and rivals as minor characters. The title of the manga is even a pun on Reina's nature as Manabu Tanaka's yankee but dere dere girlfriend (rather than her going Yandere).
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid has Hallie Tribeca, one of Vivio and Einhart's rivals in the Inter-Middle Tournament and the leader of a small gang of female delinquents.
  • Shounan Bakusozoku (aka Bomber Bikers of Shonan) is one of the most popular entries into the Delinquent genre (in Asia anyway). It's premise is a parody of the trope (Eguchi isn't only the leader of the Biker gang but also of the school's handicraft club), but the series plays it straight quite often.
  • Hiroshi Motomiya's whole career is based on this trope. Some of his more popular works include Salaryman Kintarou, Wild 7 and Otokogi.
  • Hana no Asuka-gumi is a wildly popular shoujo variation of this trope.
  • Chameleon is all about the main character wanting to be Japan's baddest delinquent of all.
  • Ultimate Teacher is a parody of the Delinquent genre, set in Japan's worst school. The school's leader, Hinako, is the school's prettiest (and cleanest) girl and the teacher that's supposed to straight them up turns out to be the biggest bully of them all.
  • In case the title didn't make it clear, Kongoh Bancho's main character (and nearly the entire cast) are delinquents.
  • England from Axis Powers Hetalia was said to be quite the delinquent as a teen, something which he fervently denies due to his current status as a (self-proclaimed) gentleman. This is also touched in Gakuen Hetalia where in England's official bio it mentions how he had been given such a reputation in the past.
  • Himeko from Sket Dance was one at first but she changed.
  • The main villain, Duo Haguro, of Wolfen Crest is supposedly a yakuza (or at least a yakuza heir), but due to his age and status as a high-schooler fits many aspects of this trope. His student underlings and his girlfriend Ryuuko Kounuma also qualify.
  • In an episode of Rosario + Vampire, after Tsukune had been kidnapped by a gang of delinquents (monster delinquents, at that), the main group of girls dresses up as stereotypical high school delinquents to fight the gangsters and save him (though that was more for show than anything else, since it was an idea from resident cosplay fetishist Ruby).
  • Haine from Shinshi Doumei Cross spent years as a delinquent, complete with blond hair.
  • Hatori from Life. She's not in a gang, and she doesn't fight people, but she has quite the reputation. Most of it is just rumor though.
  • Joe Shimamura's original backstory in Cyborg 009 had him and his friends as one of these. It's Bowdlerized in the new series, where they are Heartwarming Orphans instead.
  • Another Joe who is a delinquent is Joe Yabuki, from Ashita no Joe, even though he's homeless and never even been in a school.


Film[edit | hide]

  • 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 70's featured gang girls for titillation: Sukeban Guerrilla, Girl Boss Sukeban and the Stray Cat Rock series are some representative titles.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • "Banchou" from Gate Keepers. Subverted in that he looks and talks like a delinquent but acts more like a Love Freak.
  • Daigo Kazama, Eiji "Edge" Yamada and Gan Isurugi from Rival Schools. Of course, the school they attend is nothing but deliquents.
    • In the sequel Project Justice, they're joined by female delinquent Aoi "Zaki" Himezaki and her all-female gang, the Ladies Team. The two gangs even face off against each other in the game's story mode, as illustrated above.
  • Kanji from Persona 4. Dyed Blond hair? Check. Scar on the forehead? Check. Wears Uniform Inappropriately? Check. Foul-mouthed? Check. Likes to knit and could possibly be ga... What the hell?!
    • Izanagi was intentionally designed to look like one, in keeping with the Protagonist's role in the party.
    • The trailer for the fighting game Persona 4 Arena has the announcer explicitly refer to the protagonist as one (as well as a Siscon).
  • Yukino from the orginal Persona is a reformed one. Still wears the long skirt though.
  • Inverted in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice where Raspberyl is a demon delinquent. Oh, she's rebelling against the ideals of the School of Evil culture alright. By wearing proper clothing, going to class, abiding by a curfew that she made herself, and donating blood whenever she can. She's a nice girl herself, but pissing off everyone else does make it fun. The other students do genuinely appreciate her tendency to bail them out of trouble, though.
  • Riki and Kunio (Ryan and Alex) from the Kunio-kun (River City Ransom) series, including Super Dodgeball.
  • Masamune Date and his men from Sengoku Basara. Think Sengoku Era biker gang.
  • Kenka Bancho is a series of video games for the PlayStation 2 and PSP where you get to play a delinquent.
  • Samurai Warriors 3: Masanori Fukushima, despite living in the Sengoku era, sports a pompadour hairdo and has delinquent-esque mannerisms.
  • Akira, from the near-future chapter of Live a Live, is the very image of a delinquent. He even slouches.


Real life examples[edit | hide]

  • Japanese singer Nanase Aikawa is known for being a former sukeban. Her music was/is popular with bousouzoku.
  • The members of the band Blankey Jet City were bousouzoku in their youth.
  1. A uniquely detailed description of the fashion and behavior of real yankees and bikers in The Eighties can be read in Ikuya Satou's book.
  2. the dub Bowdlerised this into him being a loosely-defined "ultimate fighter"