Dekotora: Japan’s Soaped-Up Four-Wheel Masterpieces

  • Japan never ceases to amaze people around the world. Japan never stopped producing things which make lives better, convenient and even colorful.

    An example of this is the extravagantly decorated truck known as “dekotora” in Japan. It is an abbreviation for “decoration truck.” The term was coined by a model car maker, Aoshima Kyozai.

    What is Dekotora?


    Dekotora commonly displays neon or ultraviolet lights with extravagant paintings on it. These are created either for fun or for special events. Dekotora was first seen during the 1970’s era, particularly in a series of 10 movies called Torakku Yaro (Truck Guys). It featured a truck driver who drove his garishly decorated truck all over Japan. It became a hit with both young and old that it became a fad. In the late 1990s, dekotora became heavily influenced by the art of Gundam. Decorations were pretty much related to the movie. It became so popular that some truck owners decorated their trucks to the extent that they will be invited to some events.

    Modern Times

    After the hit movie, Truck Guys, dekotora became evidently famous in films and TV shows. Even video games and model cars adopted the fad. Dekotora was also used in the following TV series: Nagareboshi Ogin, Tantei Ikka, Yo nimo Kimyō na Monogatari, Hotel, and Gokusen (2nd series). In the later parts of the manga series, Great Teacher Onizuka, Eikichi Onizuka ends up living in a dekotora garbage truck. You can also find them in music videos such as Ahead of the Light (MIYAVI) and Black Saturday (Mando Diao).

    Dekotora Styles


    Dekotora come in three styles: Kansai, Kanto and Retro. It is the retro style which is considered true to the movie series. The Kansai and Kanto style, on the other hand, resemble contemporary anime influences from the Gundam series. Apart from this, you can also customize your own truck style!

    So if you want to show off your ride, Japan might be an awesome place for it!

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