70s SUBCULTURES: Takenokozoku/ Northern Soul


‘Bamboo Shoot Tribe’

Some of the first to form Harajuku into one of the best known places to view Japanese street fashion.

The style was popular in the late 70’s and early 80s, and consisted of neon colored accessories such as beads, whistles, bows, and nametags.


A store called Takenoko inspired the clothes worn by the Takenokozoku, which were influence by traditional Japanese fashion. The store is still open now, but has evolved with the times.


Their outfits were loose and baggy, and usually hot pink or bright blue or purple.

They wore robes with kanji characters, and slippers that were comfortable for dancing.


Large groups of Takenokozoku would choreograph dances in the streets of Harajuku, playing the current popular music on their boom boxes.


Northern Soul was 1972’s only true underground cult.

Music and dance movement that emerged from the British Mod scene.

Obsessed with exclusiveness.


Preferred black music over white.

Based on the heavy beat and fast tempo of the mid-1960s Tamla Motown sound, yet usually not the mainstream Motown Records. The recordings most prized by enthusiasts of the genre are usually by lesser-known artists, and were initially released only in limited numbers, often by small regional United States labels such as Ric-Tic and Golden World (Detroit), Mirwood (Los Angeles) and Shout and Okeh (New York/Chicago).


Cited by many as being a significant step towards the creation of contemporary club culture/Superstar DJ culture of the 2000s.

Two of the most notable DJs from the original northern soul era are Russ Winstanley and Ian Levine.

As in contemporary club culture, northern soul DJs built up a following based on satisfying the crowd’s desires for music that they could not hear anywhere else


Dress Code.

Included strong elements of the classic mod style, such as button-down Ben Sherman shirts, blazers with centre vents and unusual numbers of buttons, Trickers and Brogue shoes and shrink-to-fit Levi jeans.

Some non-mod items, such as bowling shirts, were also popular.

Later, they started to wear light and loose-fitting clothing for reasons of practicality. This included high-waisted, baggy Oxford trousers and sports vests. These were often covered with sew-on badges representing soul club memberships.


The clenched fist symbol that has become associated with the northern soul movement (frequently depicted on sew-on patches) emanates from the Black Power Civil Rights movement of the 1960s in the United States.


The dress to  preserve the cult’s invisibility. To anyone else, the northern mod’s appearance would seem commendably conformist, or only mildly eccentric.

The details only signified to fellow insiders: The vent, The turn-up, The right-button fastened, The curl of the sideburn.


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