Chinese culture can be a brutal, dictatorial arrangement for a young person like Miki. History and protocol are guides but also suffocators. Gender, social position, and family connections go both ways. Xiao Shun or Filial Piety stresses the Confucian doctrine of respect for parents and ancestors. This attitude is particularly demanding of women. Miki risks blow-back from her marriage-obsessed parents, her relatives, neighbors, and colleagues for riding a motorcycle — especially with male friends. She negates tradition and authority but it’s not an easy move. Her shoulders are conspicuously tattooed and this drives home her point about self-determination while also finessing the culture.
“Tattoos have other meanings to me,” Miki says. “And they all have stories! Live hard, live for yourself. Accept the true self and don’t compare yourself with others. Everyone is unique and must love themselves, find their own advantages, and do what they are good at.”
“For me, motorcycles are my family members,” Miki clarifies. “They are a part of my life — a pursuit of a source of freedom. Yes, it is fun to ride in Beijing but there is something serious too. My generation stands in the middle between the past and now; very different worlds we go through when we ride. If I am to be strong and become an artist, it will be from my own efforts and pursuit of beautiful things. This is how I must live and my motorcycle helps me understand and do this.”