The Dekotora or Decotora (デコトラ dekotora), an abbreviation for “Decoration Truck”, is a kind of loudly decorated truck most commonly found in Japan and the Philippines. Dekotora commonly have neon or ultraviolet lights, extravagant paints, and shiny stainless or golden exterior parts. These decorations can be found on both the cab and the trailer, and not only on the exterior but also in 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).
Note that Dekotora does not refer to vehicles used for advertisements, political campaigns or propaganda.
In 1976, Toei released the first entry in a series of 8 movies called Truck guys (トラック野郎 Torakku Yarō) that featured as the protagonist a costumed trucker who drove his garishly decorated truck all over Japan. This movie was a big hit with both old and young, and caused a wave of Dekotora popularity to sweep the country. While Dekotoras were present throughout the 1970s, before the movie they were restricted to the north-eastern fishing transport trucks. It is possible that the movie was an attempt to popularise these kinds of trucks. In those days, ready-made parts for trucks were not easily available, so these trucks freely utilised parts from sightseeing buses or US military vehicles.