Ever since I first launched this blog; I always wanted to open the chapter of Dekotoras or ‘decoration trucks’ of Japan. Regardless what your opinion would be about these pimped out transformers; learning their story actually makes them quite an interesting topic about Japanese culture.
For those unaware; this, over the top, scene actually dates back to the 70s. The inspiration came from the 1970s film series Torakku Tora (Truck Guys) about a bunch of guys driving their highly decorated trucks across Japan. The film was a hit and Dekotora kicked off ever since.
The kind of people that own and build decoration trucks are either enthusiasts or actual truckers that use them to haul cargo all over country.
Learning to appreciate Dekotoras with their excess of chrome paneling, artistic paintings and a gazillion of light fixtures comes with the fact that the owners do most if not all of the work themselves. Building one truck can span up to a couple of decades and tens of thousands of dollars. Each truck is a work of art expressing the individuality of its owner’s creativity, crafting skills and tastes.
Plus, in case you didn’t guess it, these are not random trucks with chrome & lights piled on top of them. Rather there are specific styles or schools of Dekotroas. There is the retro or classic style, resembling the styling features of the trucks in the Torakku Tora film, styles named after certain regions in Japan and up to ultra modern styles that beat Optimus Prime with swag.
The interiors are majorly suede with chandeliers all over; much like pimp mobiles and purple suede seems to be pretty much desired among Japanese.
Powering the excess lighting are quite a number of batteries and extra-fitted alternators that compensate for the excess in power load.
On public roads it is illegal to drive them with their lights on and I have to give credit to the authorities in Japan for not completely banning Dekotoras which would have been a shame.
It is not certain if Dekotoras would ever leave Japan as it would be cool to see this evolve into other cultures. These metal and electric art pieces do involve plenty of patience and creativity making them worthwhile.
There is a website for a Japanese Dekotora community you can check it out over here; its half way English and Japanese so good luck browsing it.
An added bonus below are bits from a below ”Dekochari” (overly-decorated) exhibition for Dekotoras and ‘Dekochari’ vans, bicycles and motorcycles!