Car subcultures: dekotora, lowriders, and 'spinning'

Produced as part of Cars: Accelerating the Modern World

On now until Sunday, 19 April 2020

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Around the world, communities have used cars in different and creative ways to express their own individual and group identities. Throughout the run of our exhibition, Cars: Accelerating the Modern World, we will be publishing three short films that explore the richness that can be found in car subcultures today: eye-popping dekotora trucks in Japan, low-rider conventions in America, and 'spinning' in South Africa.

Dekotora (decorated trucks), Saitama, Japan

Dekotora means 'decorated truck' in Japan. Inspired by the 1975 Japanese TV series, Torakku Yarō (Truck Guys), which featured a trucker who drove his garishly decorated truck all over Japan, dekotora drivers spend huge sums of money customising their ride with extravagant hand-painted murals, neon and ultraviolet lights, and sparkling chrome fixtures.

"On the truck you drive long distances and go to so many places, so it's almost a natural instinct to try and make your mark, to show the world you exist and what you are like. You know, to be a little bit flashy and exaggerate your personality".

Junichi Tajima, president of Utamarokai, the largest and oldest dekotora association in Japan

In this film Junichi Tajima takes us on a journey, revealing the origins of dekotora and how their charity work has helped to dispel their traditional bad-boy reputation.

American Low-rider and South Africa 'spinning' films coming soon