By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder, is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
In their early days, the Osaka Daggers had nothing and still did everything to keep their skate culture active in their city. Today it is a meeting point between those who share the same values, an alternative lifestyle to traditional Japanese culture. Even being considered a minority this community makes noise worldwide.
In the documentary “Explore the roots of Japanese Skateboarding with the Osaka Daggers” shared by the Olympic Channel, we were able to get a closer look at what this sports scene is about.
They're characterized by the uniqueness and creativity in the performance of their tricks, from skidding on a can to going out into the streets and finding the perfect spot even with rustic, rugged surfaces such as the Raji-banc, "radical bench", or sandy like the Horie Park.
Inspired by the culture of the United States, the Osaka Daggers discovered their own style when skating and for more than 20 years they have been enjoying skateboarding as an urban culture of fun, creativity, and sharing with their friends. "Recently people have thought that we are great because we have new ideas and we do things that nobody does," says Taiichiro "Chopper" Nakamura, founder of this culture.
Their Own Space to Create
Although at the beginning their focus used to be only punk, later they combined Skateboarding too. Nowadays their lifestyle and the store are the mixes of both.
The Osaka Daggers recreated a space dedicated to their deepest tastes and passions, with their own store and school to teach new generations what identifies them as a community.
In addition to working artistically with their own textile products using the silk-screen printing technique and various handwork. For this community it has been a process of evolution and growth, where the first members today exercise their skills and knowledge of the world of skateboarding, to share them and teach them to new generations.
Skateboard Art is Lived in All it's Expressions
In the documentary published by the Olympic Channel, Chopper's influence on the culture of Japanese skateboarding is highlighted, among this family, the renowned skater and artist Haroshi, who over the years has specialized in creating sculptures and other artistic pieces with skateboards, expresses the meaning of skateboarding for him: “Skaters are artists like me, skating is not just a sport, there are no rules and you can do whatever you want, it turns out that you express yourself in this way, it is a part from another culture built around Skateboarding. It is as a trick, it's like an ollie or a lap, sculpting skateboards is like doing one of those tricks. ”
For Haroshi, as in art, there are skaters who have the skills not only to replicate complex tricks but also to create totally new ones and that they multiply among more skaters, as is the case of Chopper, who redefined the scene of his country and has become something special thanks to him.
Passing on The Essence of Skateboarding to New Generations
Takeshi “Dal” Ota is not only the oldest member of the Osaka Daggers community, but he also runs the skateboarding school in Osaka and mentions that he wants to “share the fun of skateboarding and increase the number of people who skate every day.” The school, which is located in the Spotaka Skateboard Park, has classes for beginners, once they learn the basics they are ready to go to the next level and train with those at a higher level.
The history of skateboarding in Japan is barely being written, Dal stresses that if the Olympics help increase the number of skaters, it will be great. Especially since they will be able to mix sports with culture and "make skateboarding even more amazing", says the oldest skateboarder in this family.
Chopper highlights that when he was young, skating was a revolution, like punk, and over the years he has observed that skateboarding naturally attracts people with this type of personality, for him, it is important that new skateboarders remember that they can do things their way, don't be afraid to have your own style of skating, have the freedom to choose what you want to do and not just replicate what others do.
“When I was young, skating was a counterculture, basically we were against everything, skating seems to naturally attract people with that type of personality, I want the new generations to think more about doing things in their own way, I want them to realize that it is good to have your own style to skate and not only do what others do, ”says Taiichiro“ Chopper ”Nakamura at the end of the documentary.
Now skateboarding is in a process of transition with the arrival of the Olympics and for Haroshi, the fact that this is happening is an opportunity to help the skateboarding scene in Japan not forget that skateboarding is also a scene with its own fashion, music, and art.
"I knew that skating would come to the Olympics, there are many children who train specifically for the Olympics, these children work for something that we did not have, but I do not want these children to forget that skateboarding is also a scene with its own fashion, music, and art”, says Hiroshi, skateboarder artist.
Skateboarding will continue to be a space for sporting and cultural expression, everything is changing, and in those who practice it is the responsibility to keep its essence alive and the reason why skateboarding is unique around the world.