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Dekotora or decotora (デコトラ dekotora), an abbreviation for "decoration truck", are extravagantly decorated trucks in Japan. Commonly displaying neon or ultraviolet lights, extravagant paints, and stainless or golden parts (both on the exterior and the interior), dekotora may be created by workers out of their work trucks for fun, or they may be designed by hobbyists for special events. They are sometimes also referred to as art trucks (アートトラック) ātotorakku)).
In 1975, Toei released the first in a series of 10 movies called Torakku Yarō (Truck Guys) that featured a trucker who drove his garishly decorated truck all over Japan. This movie was a hit with both old and young, and the dekotora fad swept the country. While dekotora were present throughout the 1970s, they were restricted to north-eastern fishing transport trucks prior to the movies. In those days, ready-made parts for trucks were not easily available, so these trucks took parts from sightseeing buses or American military vehicles.
Since the late 1990s, dekotora have been heavily influenced by the art of Gundam. Other decorations are more akin to modern art and retro designs that closely resemble those found in the movie.
After Torakku Yarō, dekotora were referred to in various films and TV shows. Video games and model cars adopted the fad. Two monthly dekotora magazines are published, namely Camion by Geibunsha and Truck King (トラックキング Torakku Kingu) by Eiwa Publishing.
Other dekotora-oriented films include:
- Bakusō! Trucker Gundan
- Bakusō! Moon Angel—Kita e
- Supermarket Woman
- Tokyo Fiancee
- Dekotora no Washi
- Bakusō Trucker Densetsu
The American film Black Rain features a couple brief scenes that include dekotora. In the Initial D film, the "Emperor" Race team carries one of their cars around in a dekotora truck. The film Millennium Actress directed by Satoshi Kon includes a scene meant to evoke an old Torakku Yarō film, in which the actress Chiyoko is trying to get to Hokkaido; her train is stalled by an avalanche, but she gets a lift from a Dekotora truck driven by the documentarian Genya. A Dekotora truck is briefly seen in the French film Enter the Void, directed by Gaspar Noé.
Dekotora TV series include:
- Nagareboshi Ogin
- Tantei Ikka
- Yo nimo Kimyō na Monogatari
- Gokusen (the 2nd series)
In Tokusatsu series, we have in Engine Sentai Go-Onger, one of its weekly monstrous antagonists has the ability to turn into a dekotora, and in Kamen Rider Drive one of the Shift Cars, the sentient transformation trinkets used by some of the Riders, is a dekotora named Deco Traveler.
In video games
- Zenkoku Dekotora Matsuri is a dekotora design simulator released in Japan in the spring of 2008.
- In the Street Fighter Alpha series, Sodom, a Japanophile, drives a stylishly decorated truck.
- Bakusō Dekotora Densetsu: Otoko Ippiki Yume Kaidō
- Bakusō Dekotora Densetsu 2: Otoko Jinsei Yume Ichirō
- Bakusō Dekotora Densetsu: Otoko Hanamichi Yume Roman
- Shin Bakusō Dekotora Densetsu: Tenkatōitsu Chōjō Kessen
- Bakusō Dekotora Densetsu: Black
- Art Camion Geijutsuden
- Art Camion Sugorokuden
- Big Mutha Truckers - a dekotora appears in the intro, and it is also the final rival on the final day.
- 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker - a dekotora appears as a secret truck called "Nippon Maru".
- Truck Kyousoukyoku: Ai to Kanashimi no Rodeo
- Car Town Facebook app
- Pocket Trains app
- Street Fighter x Tekken - A stage in the game, The Pitstop 109, features a few dekotora on a rooftop.
In music videos
- INXS - Original Sin (1984)
- RIKI - Kurenai no Backfire (2008)
- Miyavi - Ahead of the Light (2013)
- Mando Diao - Black Saturday (2014)
- Rich Chigga - Dat $tick (Remix) feat. Ghostface Killah and Pouya (2016)
- Dekochari, bicycles modelled after dekotora
- Itasha, cars decorated with usually moe characters
- Jeepneys, trucks originally made from surplus American jeeps from WWII
- Chiva buses, colourful buses primarily seen in Colombia and Ecuador
- Tap taps, painted Haitian "buses"
- Truck art in South Asia