For his new series “Decotora Hachinohe”, Masaru Tatsuki photographed truck drivers and their extravagantly decorated trucks in Hachinohe in Japan’s north.
While Tatsuki, who has been following the Decotora (a portmanteau of the words “decoration” and “truck”) scene since 2007 and won the 2012 Kimura Ihei Award, focuses on the trucks in his images, he manages to go beyond the visual spectacle to capture the personality of the drivers and their lives. These trucks are not mere hobbies but used to carry goods through Japan; they are an integral part of their owners’ livelihoods.
“How about ourselves? Do we use our clothes/car/house to express our own pride? If so, is it genuine? Do these things allow others to see us for who we really are? When drivers decorate their trucks, it’s not just to make the truck look better. It’s a device that forces us to see and acknowledge their pride, which we would otherwise ignore.”
― from Masaru Tatsuki’s afterword (included in Japanese and in English translation)
Hachinohe is known as the birthplace of the decotora trucks. “Decotora Hachinohe” was published to accompany an exhibition of Tatsuki’s photographs at the Hachinohe City Museum of Art.