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

Classic Mini in Berlin: Art and Adventure with Amrei Andrasch

August 14, 2014
Classic Mini in Berlin: Art and Adventure with Amrei Andrasch

Amrei Andrasch is a Berlin-based artist who brings paper to life in sculptures and animation. Read on to learn about her work and how her classic Mini brings fun and freedom to the streets of Berlin.

MINI and Channel Islands Surfboards Present: The MINI Surfboard

July 10, 2015
MINI and Channel Islands Present: The MINI Surfboard

Pro Surfer Kalani Robb and renowned surfboard artisans Channel Islands Surfboards have teamed up with MINI to design ‘The MINI', a surfboard that handles like its namesake.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Suiting Up for Space with Lucy McRae

August 07, 2014
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Suiting Up for Space with Lucy McRae

When tech takes us out of this world, how will our bodies respond to long-haul space travel? Lucy McRae explores ways in which we might prepare for the final frontier.

IMMpressed: From Hitchhiker to MINIac

September 16, 2014
IMMpressed: From Hitchhiker to MINIac

Attending an International Mini Meeting can lead to an addictive motoring habit. Join Inga Narauskaitė from Lithuania on her adventurous trip from one MINI meeting to the next and find out why she keeps going back for more.

MINI Takes the States 2014: Coast to Coast with a MINI Motorcade

September 10, 2014
MINI Takes the States 2014: Coast to Coast with a MINI Motorcade

The great American road trip. It's a required class in the lifelong studies of a motoring scholar. Every other summer, a great convoy of road-hungry MINIacs make their way across the US in an epic transcontinental cruise. This year they took in 15 cities across 18 states in just 15 days. Scroll through the adventure here and study up for your own cross-country coursework.

14 Sunrises Through the Seasons: Top Down Daybreak Drives from Winter to Summer

August 21, 2014
14 Sunrises Through the Seasons: Top Down Daybreak Drives from Winter to Summer

Photographer David Chang tracks the dawn of summer with stunning landscapes at sunrise. Scroll through the seasons from the backseat of his MINI Cabrio.