In Japan, some truckers spend a lot of money on decorating their trucks with neon lights, brand-name fabrics and shiny exteriors, and such drivable works of art have struck a chord with Italian luxury fashion house Gucci.
The "Gucci Fall Winter 2016 campaign" video, which shows a man and two women driving an extravagant dekotora truck to a "pachinko" pinball parlor, has been viewed some 800,000 times on YouTube. It was also displayed on a huge outdoor screen in Shibuya, one of Tokyo's fashion centers.
The truck in the advertisement, produced as part of Gucci's commercial videos featuring Berlin, Rome and other cities, is owned by Kazuya Sekino, 45, a self-employed business owner in Goka, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.
Dekotora trucks became known across Japan due to the popular movie series "Torakku Yaro" (Truck Guys) in the 1970s, featuring a trucker who drove his flamboyantly decorated truck across the country.
Sekino was attracted by dekotora when he was a small child. He bought a used truck at 18 and devoted himself to decorating it.
The current dekotora, named Misaki-jo (Ms. Misaki), is Sekino's third, refurbished from a used refrigerator van he purchased for about 300,000 yen a decade ago. He spent several million yen on the decorations.
Images painted on Misaki-jo represent a Japanese mythological story of a Shinto god slaying an eight-headed and eight-tailed dragon.
Before Gucci's commercial, the truck was used in the AKB48 idol girl group's promotion video and a television drama featuring actor Hiroshi Tachi.
As dekotora trucks are drawing attention overseas nowadays, U.S. and European TV crews occasionally visit Japan to cover them, according to Zenkoku Utamarokai, a national association of dekotora enthusiasts.
The association also drew attention in Japan as its members carried aid supplies in their trucks and prepared meals outdoors for victims following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami catastrophe in the Tohoku region, northeastern Japan, and the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes in southwestern Japan.
The image of dekotora is changing from "sturdy" or "threatening," said Sekino, who transports fresh fish and seafood on Misaki-jo from Oarai port in Ibaraki to markets in Chiba and Saitama prefectures twice a week while managing his garbage collection business.
Dekotora trucks are attractive because they show owners' personalities, Sekino said. "I would like to help people in the world recognize the artistic quality of them."
The News Lens has been authorized to republish this article. The original can be found here.
Editor: Olivia Yang