Gone are the heydays of the richly decorated Japanese big-rigs known as decoration. Once a symbol of blue-collar ideals in the pre-bubble era, the art and culture of truckers modifying their vehicles to extreme levels has been in decline since the late 1980s.
▼ The dekotora scene was exemplified by the “Truck Yaro” movies of the 1970s. Here is the opening of the final film “Furusato Tokkyubin”.
The 1990s brought high customization and maintenance costs combined with a general aversion to these incredibly ostentatious designs by companies that feared they would appear too “antisocial” and “intimidating”.
The situation had not improved even since the turn of the millennium. In 2001 then Governor Shintaro Ishihara banned all dekotora from entering Tokyo, which was obviously the most profitable terminal for truck drivers in all of Japan. Now, the advent of hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as the possibility of autonomous vehicles on the horizon, are accelerating the extinction of these majestic machines.
▼ They can still be seen in the big city on special occasions every now and then
However, Utamarokai, Japan’s largest association of dekotora owners and supporters, continued the struggle to keep it alive. One advantage that has come over time has been the Internet, which has helped bring the art of dekotora to the world, finding fans in every corner of the globe. In particular, the presence of such a truck at the Tokyo Paralympics opening ceremony helped to put the spotlight on Utamarokai and their businesses.
▼ He was the centerpiece of Tomoyasu Hotei’s highlight performance at the event.
By the way, since the weights and emissions of their vehicles make it difficult to get them into urban areas, Utamarokai usually holds charity events three times a year in the more rural parts of Japan, showcasing their trucks and raising money, mainly for disaster relief and support for orphaned children following disasters.
▼ A large charity event with over 400 trucks was held in Wakayama on May 4 (the trucks really start in about 10 minutes).
Utamarokai also puts their trucks where their money is. In the spirit of “Truck Yaro”, they often come to the aid of others by taking sides in disaster areas armed with supplies. For example, in October 2011 an aqueduct collapsed in the city of Wakayama, cutting off the water supply of some 60,000 homes, schools and hospitals. Dekotora was responsible for hauling around 10 tons of drinking water while the pipes were being repaired.
It’s expensive work, however, so now Utamarokai has turned to the burgeoning NFT business to raise money for their businesses. They coined three videos on the online market Offshorewith some of their best dekotora about to ignite.
▼ Yumetokkyu (Dream Express)
▼ Heisei Maru
▼ And the tragically called Misakijo (Lady Misaki)
Each video is listed for an Ether asking price which tends to hover around just under $ 3,000 at the time of this writing. Sure, it’s a hefty price tag, but in true Utamaroki fashion, some of the money will go directly to disaster-related charities, while the rest goes to Utamaroki, which is pretty much a charity in its own right.
Additionally, the first purchaser of each NFT will earn the right to drive the rifle during one of its events. Even if the NFT changes hands later, that right will remain with the first purchaser only. They will also have access to purchase exclusive original dekotora items, but it’s unclear what they might be at this point.
The sad part is that their initial sale, which lasted until the end of April, produced no buyers. Then, the videos were listed again until Monday. Detailed instructions on purchasing NFTs have been listed in the campaign Site in English for first time buyers.
Surely, someone in the world would want to snatch one of these.Whether NFTs are a feasible investment or not, buying one of these non-fungible tokens of these trucks could be seen as simply investing money for a good cause and getting a little piece of the spirit of the time in the process.
Images: Times of public relations
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