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Browse Current IssueCulture 5 of Japan’s Top Custom Motorcycle Shops

Over the past few decades, a rebirth of motorcycle craft captivated builders in The Land of the Rising Sun. Drawing from a rich history steeped in tradition and art, Japanese custom builders impart a diverse and unique worldview onto the motorcycle, their medium for creation. Meticulously made, track-ready machines roll out of the custom motorcycle shops of  Shiro Nakajima’s 46Works and Daisuke Mukasa’s Animal Boat Custom Cycles, while displacement-heavy, visually airy, American customs are created by Kaichiro Kurosu of Cherry’s Company and Hideya Togashi of Hide Motorcycle. Photographer Valen Zhou visited these premier Japanese custom craftsmen and photographed them in their environments, where they are inspired to create and reimagine the motorcycles of yesterday and tomorrow.


Yatsugatake, Honshū

Shiro Nakajima is best known for his track-proven BMW and Moto Guzzi customs under the shop name Ritmo Sereno. Now under the guise of 46Works, Nakijima-san has found a new home in the Yatsugatake Mountains 100 miles outside of Tokyo where he can continue to carry out his passion.

Animal Boat Custom Cycles

Ōta, Tokyo

Started by Daisuke Mukasa in 1995, Animal Boat is a tiny custom motorcycle shop specializing in small-displacement, race-ready machines. With an eye for detail and a soul for rock and roll, Daisuke-san takes little — and produces a lot.

Brat Style

Kita, Tokyo

Started in the late ’90s by Go Takamine, Brat Style blends traditional Japanese craftsmanship with its signature simplicity, creating a custom style that is often imitated but never duplicated.

Cherry’s Company

Nerima, Tokyo

Kaichiro Kurosu has turned out some of Japan’s best Harley-Davidson customs for over 20 years. Recently, Kurosu-san began imparting his signature style on custom BMWs, like the R nineT and R 1200 GS.

Hide Motorcycle

Setagaya, Tokyo

In 2001, Hideya Togashi founded Hide Motorcycle, or Hidemo. Togashi-san has received many accolades for his custom Harley-Davidsons, machines that have been reduced to their most simple form while retaining a highly refined style.

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