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Why Did This Japanese ‘Uncle’ Transform Himself Into A Young Female Bike Influencer?

Social media users were taken aback when a popular Japanese woman biker – all young and leather-jacketed – was recently revealed to actually be a 50-year-old ‘uncle.’ As the curtain lifted on his ‘catfishing,’ reactions have been pouring in from social media users who have been served an unexpected, strange blow.

What happens when editing technologies give the facility to create entirely fake human personas online? And more importantly, what happens when entire audiences fall for it? Read here to know.  

Japanese Woman Biker Catfish Case: A Timeline

1. A social media account under the handle ‘@azusagakuyuki‘ was created on Twitter in January 2019. Posting photos of a young Japanese woman biker, the account was a travel photoblog.

2. As followers grew, the influencer began gaining popularity and would post regularly – from beaches, mountains, scenic landscapes. Other sports mentioned in the account bio include extreme biking, mountain skiing and camping.

3. A Yamaha bike featured consistently with the influencer’s interest in the details of bike parts, types, speed, etc. The Japanese biker woman, who had been dubbed ‘biker chick,’ astonished audiences that were not used to seeing a female influencer take such keen interest in extreme sports.

4. Though no one complained that a woman was partaking in a domain considered exclusive to men, fans and followers gradually noticed that something seemed to be off.

5. This Japanese woman biker influencer had emerged out of nowhere, without any background or details to corroborate her life story with what she was presenting online. Her entire identity appeared obscure.

6. These whispers of doubt were (sort of) confirmed when a picture posted by @azusagakuyuki in February this year showed an irregular figure in a bike’s rearview mirror. The reflection looked nothing like the Japanese woman biker, people claimed.

japanese woman biker, japanese biker man

Source: Twitter / Fans notice rearview mirror

7. As this case spiralled into mystery, the Japanese series Late Monday Show reportedly took it upon themselves to bust it open. They probed and lo! Out from behind the helmet emerged a 50-year-old man who was posing to be the Japanese biker woman for so long.

8. The man, with a mane not too different from the Japanese woman biker persona he had taken on, was named Zonggu and had turned to this ‘influencing’ trick because he believed no one would like to follow an ‘uncle’ on social media.

9. “No-one will read what a normal middle-aged man, taking care of his motorcycle and taking pictures outside, posts on his account,” he told local media. He said he tested the waters with his edited photos as a Japanese woman biker and quickly gained followers, and so decided to keep it up.

10. The public has taken Zonggu’s ‘catfishing’ in good humour and said they didn’t mind it. @azusagakuyuki is now at over 20,000 followers on Twitter and the Japanese woman biker continues to influence ‘her’ fans.