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Street racers, known natively in Japan as hashiriya (Japanese: 走り屋 Hashiri-ya), often occur on expressways and highways, where they are known as kōsoku battle (Japanese: 高速バトル, literally "high-speed battle") or commonly known as Roulette-zoku as they drive round and round in circular motions and frequently occur on the Shuto Expressway in Tokyo, real-life Kanto region. Japanese racers have also popularized racing along the narrow winding roads of the mountains of the country, known as Touge. (potrayed in SS and Over Rev!, both were published by Shōgakukan)

The most notorious group to be associated with street racing was the Mid Night Club who gave street racing worldwide attention with its 300km/h antics. It was known for its high standards and organization until they were disbanded in 1999 following a fatal accident involving a group of Bōsōzoku. The expressway racing scene is portrayed in the manga Wangan Midnight (formerly serialized in a manga magazine of Shōgakukan for short periods before moving out), as well as in the movie series Shuto Kousoku Trial.

With heavier punishments, patrolling police cars, crackdowns in meeting areas and the installation of speed cameras, expressway racing in Japan is not as common today as it was during the 1980s and the 1990s. Still, it occurs on a not-so-regular basis. Persistent racers often install spring assisted license-plate swivelling mechanisms that hold plates down at speed or picture-proof screens over their plates. In 2001, the amount of hashiriya dropped from 9,624 (in 1995) to 4,365 and police arrests in areas where hashiriya gather are common. Cars are checked for illegal modification and if found, owners are fined and forced to remove the offending modifications.

One of the causes of street racing in Japan is that, despite the numerous and famous race circuits, they can become overcrowded. Furthermore, such circuits may cost as much as ¥20,000 to race, while a highway toll may cost less than ¥1,000.

As in other countries, street racing also occurs on long straights in industrial areas, which are used for drag races, known natively as Zero-Yon (ゼロヨン) for "0-400" (meters; in America, racing to a quarter-mile, 1320 feet, or 402 meters, is the norm), Yon is Japanese for "4". This practice gave its name to a popular video game franchise of the 1990s, Zero4 Champ series.

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