Have you ever wondered what life would be like if an eighteen wheeler truck mated with Optimus Prime? What you get is a Japanese phenomenon called ‘Dekotora’. These are trucks which have more bling than Jay Z and more neon lights than Las Vegas. Dekotora has become amazingly popular in Japan, but why?
Dekotora roughly translates into ‘decoration truck’. Dekotora originated in Japan in the 1970s, where the Japanese infatuation with truckers began. Released in Japanese cinemas were a series of films called ‘Torakku Yaro’ – which translates as ‘Truck Guys’ – and was an instant hit with the general population. From this moment, the Japanese people started modifying their large trucks. Types of trucks include tractor units, flatbeds and box trucks.
Since the 2000s, Dekotora have been massively influenced by the giant robot genre; cutting chrome steel attachments and the brightest of neon lights in different forms. Some Dekotora owners have traditional elements still to their truck, sticking true to their roots, painting murals on the side of their vehicles.
For a long time, Dekotora served the purpose of actually transporting goods and items. However in modern day, the actual decoration of the trucks has become too lavish and distracting to other road users, leading to shippers requiring that their goods are delivered in inconspicuous transportation. In fact, modern day Dekotora are illegal to drive at all; down to the fact that other road users become distracted and blinded by all the pretty lights.
So, is this the end of Dekotora as we know it? Of course not! These Japanese truck/transformer/robot enthusiasts will meet up often at organised rallies and street racing competitions; putting their truck to the test….sounds like a scene from Too Fast 2 Furious, right? The flashiest of the Dekotora trucks need an extra generator to power all their lights; so simply one is attached to the underneath chassis. Since there are so many bulbs attached to some vehicles, they can only power on all of them at once for up to thirty minutes before they get too hot and start exploding!
Will Dekotora trucks catch on anywhere else in the world? Perhaps, but definitely not to the same extent. Dekotora trucks embody the Japanese spirit – zany, colourful, experimental and loud; the trucks truly embody the spirit of Tokyo itself. Dekotora trucks are definitely here to stay…but who knows where these mechanical marvels will evolve to next! Thanks to George at Sixt car rental for sending us these videos. He assures us that they unfortunately won’t be providing dekotora vehicles for hire just yet…
What do you think of these trucks? How well do you think they handle speed bumps?