The Amazing Dekotora Trucks of Japan
Covered in chrome and gleaming neon, big rigs from across Japan are sporting amazing light shows that rival even the brightest of casinos. The practice of turning one’s truck into a moving piece of art and light show is known as Dekotora. Sometimes simply referred to as Japanese art trucks, these incredible masterpieces on four wheels have become a symbol of a Japanese subculture for decades now and the trend is still gaining momentum.
Dekotora is an abbreviation for “decoration truck.” What defines the Dekotora art movement is to add as many decorations to your truck as possible, while keeping it operational and street legal. Neon lights, flashy spoilers, manga and kabuki artworks are all part of the Dekotora movement.
There are three main Dekotora styles – Kansai, Kant and Retro, and starting with the late 1990s, the Gundam franchise has had a huge influence on the world of Dekotora as well.
The Dekotora movement was born in 1975, when Toei released the first of its 10-movie series called Trucker, which featured a truck driver who drove his incredibly decorated truck all over Japan. The movie formed a subculture of people transforming their own big rigs to resemble what they saw on screen and it took off from there. Dekotora communities provide people the opportunity to show off their creations and interact with other art-truck enthusiasts. These big rigs really light up the highways of Japan and offer beautiful visions of colorful moving artwork.
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