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“We Came by Bike” (Japanese: チャリで来た, Chari de kita) is the superimposed message on a photo of Japanese early teen homeboys. This catchy message and their impressive pose in the picture have been the popular fodder of photoshop, illustrations and re-enactments by Japanese internet users since late 2011.
The origin of this meme is a print club sticker picture of four Japanese homeboys pretending to be cool with fist pumping and smug look. And, the message written on the picture by themselves is: “We came by bike.” (チャリで来た。).
For Japanese sensibilities, this picture looks so much ridiculous because of these reasons:
- They wear dowdy Japanese juvenile delinquents (Bōsōzoku or Yanki) style fashion. Nowadays, it’s considered quite uncool especially on the web.
- All of them is too short in height and baby-faced look to wear that fashion.
- The message isn’t something to brag about at all.
It’s uncertain where this picture came from, although someone says it was leaked from back data in print club sticker by video game arcade staff, or uploaded to a mobile social network service popular among junior high / high school students by themselves. At least, this picture have been occasionally posted to threads on /news4vip/ board in 2channel since late 2009, where people collect ridiculous pictures of Bōsōzoku boys and girls.
This picture began capturing the attention by itself around the end of 2011. On January 8th, 2012, a thread for collecting parodies of “We came by Bike” succeeded to gather dozens of photo collages. A Twitter bot posting those photoshop collections was also launched in that month. From then on, parody illustrations featuring these boys began increasing on both Japanese illustrators community pixiv and niconico Seiga, the illustration sharing service in Nico Nico Douga (NND). People have created those parodies by rearranging the order of the letters in the title to various humorous statements in rhyme scheme.
In a reflection of this online popularity, Niwango, the company managed NND, added the “We came by bike” photo frame to their original print club sticker in the niconico headquarters shop in Harajuku, Tokyo in the following month. Besides, a Japanese company YEDO FACTORY released an iphone/ipad application of superimposing “We came by Bike.” style message on photos in October of that year.
Response Came by Magazine
On March 2012, it made a headline on the web that the three in them appeared as friends of an interviewed girl’s boyfriend on the first issue of Japanese gal fashion magazine egg JK. This article mentioned their online popularity, introduced them as the famous people on the web and posted their response to the online fame: “Hey 2channel-ers, that’s enough with the jokes.” It was also revealed that they took this picture when they were 13 years old.
And the final sentence in the article was this confession by them: “Today, We Came by Motorbike”.
On July 10th 2012, a Japanese celebrity Dewi Sukarno, the third wife of the previous Indonesian leader Sukarno, posted a message about the Otsu bullying case to her blog. In that post, she totally ignored Japanese juvenile laws and aggressively blamed perpetrators with their real names and several pictures that were flowing as their faces on the web. However, one of the pictures in that post was what was captured from “We came by bike”.
Screenshot taken from Dewi Sukarno’s blog post
Shortly after, she replaced their real names to initials and took down all pictures from the article. But her failure was immediately covered by not a few 2channel affiliated blogs and online gosip news sites.
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