Menu

userImg showBgrSwitcher

Background by

userImg

Thanks!

Menu

FOUND: The Bizarre Transformer Trucks of Japan

Vending machines that sell warm noodle concoctions with mysterious ingredients and unknown flavors…to our western eyes, Japan is unlike anything we’d recognize. But beyond Tokyo's glistening lights, oddball fetishes and weird, angular haircuts is a blue-collar subculture of an entirely different sort: Dekotora.

Also known as “Art Trucks,” Dekotora is the land of the rising sun’s homegrown trucker subculture that covers big rigs with neon and ultraviolet lights, colorful airbrushed murals and shiny stainless steel or golden exteriors. With housing interiors straight out of Brewsters Millions or a 2-star Las Vegas casino, the trucks are complete with elaborate chandeliers and velvet-lined seats.

There are plenty of truck-decorating customs in Asia (like Jeepnys in the Philippines), but these Japanese trucks are a league of their own. Drivers will often spend hundreds of thousands of yen and take years of painstaking effort to convert their trucks into art — and by art we mean vehicles that carry thousands of pounds of dried squid across the Japanese countryside. Moving town-to-town lit up like crazy non-denominational Christmas trees, they’re like Beyond Thunderdome at the disco, and they’re impossible not to love. Road rage? Road rave, more like.

Dekotora in all their glory

The Dekotora trend took off after the mid-70s emergence of Japanese low budget B-movies about truckers. The first flick, called “Truck Guys,” featured a trucker who drove his wildly decorated semi all over Japan, getting into adventures and chasing tail.

The popularity of “Truck Guys” spawned the creation of 10 more Dekotora flicks (all written and directed by Norifumi Suzuki), capturing the hearts and minds of lonely truckers across Japan. It’s a trend that still persists to this day — Dekotora is commonly featured in Japanese video games, toys, magazines and TV shows.

Co-Pilot Maggy Stoody with Host Elliott in the MINI Coupé

On our Mission to ALL THE WRONG PLACES, we caught up with some of the Japanese truckers who started it all — the guys from Utamorokai Dekotora Club. Scroll through the gallery and gaze upon their rides that look like transformers. Heck, American truckers are known to fork over their wages to cheap drinks and mesh hats. But Japanese truckers fork over their wages to studded chrome details, neon lights and muralled sidings.

These trucks are mind-blowing indeed...

Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (19 images)

Stay tuned for Episode 2 of ALL THE WRONG PLACES: SOUTH AFRICA, live on the MINI Facebook page December 5th.

Related Links:

Share

facebook
googlePlus
pinterest
stumbleUpon
E-Mail
seperate multiple email addresses with a comma

Comments (1)

Clara Blondeau

posted by Clara Blondeau | 02/12/2012 11:44 am

very good ,j adore ta video japon kissssss

The MINI Story: An Exclusive with the Man Behind the Exhibition

December 19, 2014
The MINI Story: An Exclusive with the Man Behind the Exhibition

The new exhibition at BMW Museum shows 30 fascinating original vehicles and many exciting background stories about MINI. Take a tour with Andreas Braun, who curated this treasure trove of MINI moments.

MINI Space Mixtape: Winter Warmers for Chill Drives

December 18, 2014
MINI Space Mixtape: Winter Warmers for Chill Drives

Stay toasty through the shortest days of the year with these wintry tracks that beat the dreariness out of the greyest afternoon.

MINI Community Car: Your Work on Display at the MINI Space Event

December 08, 2014
MINI Community Car: Your Work on Display at the MINI Space Event

Back in September MINI Space challenged you to personalise designs that would adorn a special New MINI. You did not disappoint. See the installation built from creative efforts from around the world.

New Era of Motorsport Dominance: A Brief History of MINI at the Dakar Rally

December 17, 2014
New Era of Motorsport Dominance: A Brief History MINI at the Dakar Rally

MINI has competed in the gruelling Dakar Rally since 2011, winning 3 of the 4 it's entered. Recap one of the greatest winning streaks for MINI since its legendary days of the 1960s here.

Infographic: How to Get a MINI Ready to Rally

December 16, 2014
Infographic: How to Get a MINI Ready to Rally

Get up close and personal with the MINI ALL4 Racing and see what it takes to get a MINI tuned to take on the devilish dunes of the Dakar Rally.

Dakar 2015: Stay in the Loop with Epic GIFs

December 15, 2014
Dakar 2015: Stay in the Loop with Epic GIFs

Adventure is a full-time job for the Dakar-ready X-raid Team. Go Boundless with this set of mesmerising motorsport GIFs.