A glimpse of Tokyo’s slick rockabilly scene

A pet dog all dressed up in rockabilly gear

A pet dog all dressed up in rockabilly gear

Members of the Tokyo Rockabilly Club

Members of the Tokyo Rockabilly Club

Members of the Tokyo Rockabilly Club

Members of the Tokyo Rockabilly Club

Members of the Tokyo Rockabilly Club

Members of the Tokyo Rockabilly Club

Members of the Tokyo Rockabilly Club

Members of the Tokyo Rockabilly Club

On any given Sunday at Yoyogi Park, the 134-acre green spot in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, several men turn up in leather jackets or vests, along with women sporting some of the most seriously sculpted coiffures you’ve ever seen, to show off fancy footwork that would make Elvis proud. They are the men and women of the Tokyo Rockabilly Club, inspired by the aesthetic and culture of classic rock and roll, and they make some of the most photogenic highlights in an area of the Japanese capital known for weekend gatherings of wildly costumed cosplayers.

Rockabilly — a blend of rock, country and R&B — exploded on the American music scene in the 1950s, and in many of the countries to which postwar American pop culture was heavily exported, including Japan. It was a movement spearheaded by poster boys like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and, in cinema, James Dean. Photographer Dave Golden captured the style and swagger of this special Sunday at the park as the throwback team busted out dance moves, some bordering on the acrobatic, with not a hair out of place. View his photos in the gallery above!

Also read: Under the skin of Japan’s tattoo subculture

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Smile magazine.

Photographed by

Dave Golden

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