Explore the roots of Japanese Skateboarding with the Osaka Daggers | Going Olympic

Explore the roots of Japanese Skateboarding with the Osaka Daggers | Going Olympic

In Japan, skaters are still
considered a minority and many people
think we’re weird. But throughout
the past couple years, we have been getting
acknowledged by the world. Our trademark is our
uniqueness. Through our creativity we
created our own brand of skate culture. My name is Taiichiro Nakamura. On the skating scene
I’m known as “Chopper”. I got into skateboarding
when my brother, who is three years younger
than me, picked it up. One day I borrowed his deck, and from there the
rest is history. I’m self-employed, which I
guess means I skate for a living. Mainly I make t-shirts
and other gear by hand. The Osaka Daggers
is a team now, but it used to be more of an
adjective for describing a new
subculture or counter-culture. It was a small community for those of us sharing the same
values, that sort of came
into being naturally. We’re all pretty open minded
and our trademark is our
uniqueness. Through our creativity we created our own brand of skate
culture. This is Triangle Park in
America-mura. I met Chopper during a contest thrown by AJSA. After that I started
coming down to Osaka. The first time I skated here in this park was when
I was 15 or 16. So that was like 28 years ago. So this has been my main
spot for 25 years. Normally we skate here at
night. I’d like to show you some of our other favourite spots
in the area. The ground in this park is
all dirt, not concrete. Most skaters can’t skate
without concrete. We wanted to do
something different, though. We wanted to do something
crazy on the dirt. We were a bunch of dumbasses
when you think about it. -Watch out!
-That’s really dangerous! – Fifth time’s the charm.
– This is pretty dodgy. Don’t try this at home, kids! We call this spot “Raji-ban”. That’s short for
“radical bank”. Most skaters don’t like using
rough, bumpy surfaces like this, but we thought it looked like
a cool spot to try things. We used to come here a lot. One time I showed some pros
from overseas this spot. When I told them this was
one of our home spots, they were like, “Wow, this would be ultra
awesome if you put cement over. “Super smooth.” But I told them we
liked it jagged. Being tough to skate on
meant we might pull off even cooler tricks here. They were like, “Oh huh, I
guess,” and didn’t really seem
to get it. That’s part of The
Osaka Daggers’ style. Japanese skating has been and
is still influenced by American style. In Japan, skaters are still
considered a minority and many people
think we’re weird. But throughout
the past couple years, we have been getting
acknowledged by the world. We are definitely going
into the right direction. I think we are finally getting
close to the world’s level. Recently, people think we are
cool because we have new ideas and
do stuff nobody else does. In the past, Japanese skaters
were just trying to imitate the guys from the US. But now it’s almost
the other way round. Kids over there see our skate
videos and try to imitate us. Maybe at some point in the
future one of these kids from the US
will become a top pro skater, and they will tell the world, “I got my inspiration from the
Osaka Daggers”. I think this is not too far
fetched at all. This store and workshop is the
Osaka Daggers headquarters. Back there we have our
screen-printing gear and other machines. Today, Junpei is back there
doing some DIY stuff. I made all of these
myself by screen-print. This shop’s brand name
used to be “Whatever”. Back in the days, we weren’t
focusing on skaters. Instead, we focused on punk. This is a present from
my friend, Haroshi. This is also from Haroshi. I met Haroshi 10 years ago. Now he has become
a world famous artist. It’s kind of funny, his art inspires my skate style and my skating inspires his
artwork. I’m Haroshi. I’m an artist from Tokyo. I started skating when I saw a friend from
another school doing it and thought it was cool. This is my studio.
Let me show you around. I’m making this for a street
art museum that’s opening in Berlin. Eventually there’ll be a
skateboard down here, but it’s not done yet. I am making this ramp for
a fair in Basel, Switzerland. I put a lot of detailed
grooves in the skateboards. I made it so they would bend and I could reshape them into
a ramp. I collect skateboards from all
over Japan each time I do a project. This is my stock
of extra decks. I’ll go through and find the
ones with colours or patterns I need for the project. I used to make jewellery. I wanted to make
accessories with wood. But it costs a lot
to buy good wood. While thinking of that, I realised that I had a lot of
skateboards at my house. So I started making
accessories with skateboards. Before I knew it, people were
calling me an artist. I think the skateboard itself really is like a work of art. Skaters are all very much
like artists to me. Skating isn’t just a sport. There are no rules and you
can do whatever you want. It’s another part of the
culture built upon skateboarding. Like a trick. It’s just like an ollie or a
flip. I see the way I sculpt from
skateboards as being just like those
tricks. You come across guys like
Chopper every so often. Guy’s into some big trouble. Some skaters are like creators. They’ll make a new trick, and then everyone else
imitates it. So someone does an ollie,
and then everyone copies it. People see something in a video
and then do it themselves. Sometimes you get guys like
them who find new ways of
doing things. The uniqueness about Japan’s
skate scene has been heavily influenced by
Chopper and his style. Thanks to him, the scene here
has become something special. We have a lot of different
members in the Osaka Daggers now. Let me introduce to one of the most important
members of the Osaka Daggers. I’m Takeshi Ota, aka “DAL”. I met Chopper
when I was 18 years old. I want to share how fun
skating is with others, and increase the number
of people who skate. That’s why I run
this school here. Forward! Yes, move your foot
forward. That’s right. Just because you made it
the first try doesn’t mean you will succeed the next time.
OK! Move your foot a bit further
back. This is our beginners class
for young kids. These are the kids who have
passed on from there and
picked up some skills. You guys are better than
the beginners class, right? Show us what you can do. Now push up here! Skating still doesn’t have
much history here in Japan, so I think the Olympics are
great if they’ll help us increase
the number of skaters. Thanks to the Olympics we are seeing more
skaters than ever. Don’t you think
we have to make sure that these kids also get to know the
cultural aspect about skating and not only the sport aspect? It’d be cool if we could find
a way to mix the two and make skating into something
even more amazing. When I was young,
skating was a counter-culture. We were basically against
everything. Skating seems to naturally draw
people with that type of personality. I want younger generations
to think more “DIY” and develop their own
opinions. I want them to realise that
it’s OK to have your own skate style and not just do
what everyone else does. I knew that skateboarding would
make it into the Olympics. There are a lot of young kids who specifically train for
the Olympics these days. These kids have an aim to
work towards something, which we didn’t have. But I don’t want
these kids to forget that skateboarding is also a scene with its own fashion, music,
and art. The skate scene will remain a
hub of creativity and culture. Things are changing for the
better here, with the Olympics
being part of it.

24 Replies to “Explore the roots of Japanese Skateboarding with the Osaka Daggers | Going Olympic”

  1. This is dope but highlights the categorical dilemma within skateboarding. There are many diffrent types that don't really interact so they cannot be judged the same.

  2. That wasn't real skateboarding that was worse than 1980's east coast USA tricks,skating and spots the Daggers from the Thrashin' Movie were better than these guys.

  3. Absoloutely Insane!!!! Skating can look pretty different depending on where you live, which is sick!!!

  4. 도라이가 일본말이었구나 이팀은 올드스쿨스타일이군… 올드스쿨도 종목이 있나?

  5. (日本語あり↓)
    Japan needs more skateparks. There are too few, and mostly too far one needs a car to access. Skateboarding in public here is considered a nuisance and causing danger to other people. (If you ask me, I’d say playing catch is more dangerous to other people, but it’s allowed in any park.) It’s actually illegal to skate on the streets, some people have been arrested. It’s a wonder it even became an olympic sport.

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