The Japanese Art Trucks

Dekotora or decotora is the Japanese abbreviation for “decoration truck.” We’re not talking about your regular holiday decorated trucks that one finds in a parade, no, we’re talking about extravagant, beyond excessive decorations on trucks in Japan. We’re talking about neon or ultraviolet lights and elaborate paint jobs on both the exterior and interior on work trucks. Here’s what we’re talking about:

Pretty cool looking truck, right?

Drivers often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their trucks. Drivers express their way of life, their hometown, their family, all through the decorations and they love it. Sometimes these trucks become more important to them than their homes. Dekotora have been around for over 50 years. There used to be thousands of dekotora trucks, but today there are only about 500-600 left.

Toei Company, Ltd., a Japanese file company based in Tokyo released in 1975 ten movies called Torakku Yarō (Truck Guys). These movies featured a trucker who drove his decorated truck all over Japan. The movies were a hit with both old and young viewers, and the dekotora trucks became widely popular throughout the country. Since the late 1990s, dekotora have been heavily influenced by the art of Gundam (Giant Robots TV series).

After the Truck Guys (Torakku Yarō) movies, dekotora were referred to in various films and TV shows. Video games and model cars adopted the fad. Dekotora also swept the US film industry – take a look below:

  • Black Rain
  • Initial D
  • Millennium Actress

Japan’s dekotora are drivable works of arts, see this video to learn more.

Here are my top 5 dekotora truck picks:


Do you have a favorite? Show it off below in the comments.


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