Haikyo, simply put, is the Japanese word for ruins (廃墟). But its less literal meaning carries much more weight and involves a vibrant subculture. You might know it by its English name, an ever-growing hobby in the industrialized world - 'urban exploration'. This basically means exploration of abandoned man-made structures. Haikyo, or 'Haikyo Mania' as some people call it, thus means urban exploration practiced in Japan.
But why would you climb around some rotten houses, hotels or factories?
"What drives me is the exploration of the abandoned and the rusted-out carcasses of things long gone. There is a unique feeling of excitement, sadness, and consolidation in the experience. On one hand, it’s doom and gloom, broken dreams, childhood memories of strangers. But on the other hand it's the profound beauty of nature's untamable willpower to reclaim whatever mankind once occupied - the blurring of the artificial dividing line of what man thought to be his world and the world of Gaia. Or maybe a forecast on the result of his battle against nature that started around 10.000 BC when he started building structures, some of which he believed to be eternal. The beauty of haikyo is an artistic play on these apocalyptic sentiments. It consoles my heart that after we expire, the planet will incorporate our remains into something beautiful. Gaia will create a beautiful world - just without us. "
Michel from japanborovintage.com
There is a codex to be followed: Do not steal, do not vandalize, and do not get hurt. Read more about it here.