Move aside Ice Road Truckers. While you may drive your huge rigs in treacherous conditions, there is one thing you are lacking: you aren’t doing it in style. Yeah, it’s a bummer there are DOT laws and the sort that restricts awesome modifications such as the these:
I do think it’s worth paying the $5,000 fines, though.
The Japanese sensation called, dekotora デコトラ (short for decoration truck) has been around since the late 1960s. Originally present only in northern Japan, the art of truck decorations went mainstream with the release of the 1975 Toei (the company that produces the awesome Kamen Rider series) movie, Torakku とらっくYarô やろう (Trucker) and it’s subsequent sequels. Every guy in the nation wanted to drop their boring サラリーマン (salaryman) day job to live the life of a trucker rebel riding his デコトラ.
I’m sold. Changing my profession now. (Some parts NSFW)
What are some of the common themes among these trucks? Lots of stainless steel and chrome, enough flashing neon lights to produce light pollution seen miles away, random pipes sticking out, awnings adorned with more light fixtures than an Indian casino, huge bumpers that can mow down zombies, and paintings of anything that may be dear to the driver. Each of these trucks art style usually fall into these categories: Gundam, retro, kanto, and kansai. It isn’t just the exterior that is blinged out. The cab is also adorned tastefully.
The truckers take pride in their vehicles, spending upwards of ten of thousands of dollars to add the modifications to their trucks. In their view, they spend most of their time in the trucks and not in their homes, so why not decorate their main living quarters?
Could you see yourself sleeping in one of these? I can.
The lighting set-up is very elaborate. This isn’t like going to your local Spencers, buying up their neon lights stock, super gluing the lights, powering them all through one breaker source, and calling it good. A lot of technology, engineering, and time goes into designing and setting up the light display.
No, this post wasn’t sponsored by Alienware
A majority of the paintings on these trucks are done by one man, Tatsuaki Matsumoto. With a huge backlog of commissions, the self-taught painter applies his art to fullfil his client’s sense of style and personality. Some of the paintings are a tribute to the Trucker movie. Others are paintings of gods to help bring luck and fortune while on the road. A few are of manga or celebrities. If you had a truck, what would you have painted on yours? I would have Steve Buscemi’s face on my truck, greeting every Japanese we pass by.
Here are some more dekotora photos. The images do speak for themselves.
Dekochari, the children’s version of dekotora
The craze is not just limited to adults awe-strucked by the movie. Kids are also digging dekotora. Unfortunately for them, their age obviously restricts them from affording or driving these rigs. Do these kids settle for some Hot Wheels? Nope. They bring the style to their bicycles, with full force.
Apparently, there exists legitimate dekochari biker gangs located throughout Japan. I bet they can give the Hells Angels a run for their money.
Would you own a dekochari? I could see myself riding one of these bad boys down the bicycle streets of hispter Portland with PBR.. errrr, I mean, One Cup Ozeki, in hand. Hipsters riding their double-decker bikes would have to eat their hearts out.