If you think Japan’s love for modifying cars is obsessive, then wait until you see this. Take the lights of nighttime Tokyo and combine them with giant robots and you’ll have an idea of the dekotora culture of Japan. Translated as “decoration truck,” these disco rigs put the chrome-and-steel kings of American highways to shame. Great Big Story looks and the years, money, and love this small auto subculture puts into the vehicles that make them their living.
Dekotora is the practice of adding bling-upon-bling to regular trucks. The vehicles are often equipped with enough LED lights to make a pachinko parlor seem tame. They have a big personality, and if you’ve ever wanted to anthropomorphize a vehicle, these are probably your best chance.
In the ‘70s the Japanese loved all things American. A big influence was the emerging trucker culture and its outlaw glory. This is how it all began. A row of successful movies made the blinged out trucks really popular in Japan.
In a few cases, owners spend years tricking out their trucks with their extravagant aesthetic and run up a bill up to $100,000 in the process. With custom graphics, lights and a decals, dekotora customization is considered a spiritual experience rather than just a hobby.