Owner: Taichi Yamamoto
1997 Nissan D22 Double Cab
Hometown: Saitama, Japan

Some trucks come from the factory with a sleek look and fairly decent stance, like the Chevy S-10 for example. This is easily one of the most customized vehicles on the planet due to its factory-given good looks.

It doesn't take much to customize and get the S-10s looking even better. But some vehicles just aren't as lucky. Their stock appearance isn't designed for good looks or the custom crowd. Some trucks are actually spit out of the factory for use as work trucks (go figure), or even worse, the factory tries to "customize" its pickup line, giving us stock trucks that look even worse than before.

That's where the story of this Ugly Duckling begins. Taichi Yamamoto from Saitama, Japan, bought this 1997 Nissan D22 Double Cab brand-new from the factory as the limited-edition "Skystar" model with a factory body kit (like the one pictured here in the feature). This was his very first minitruck and he purchased it with the intent of it being his work truck as he is a home builder/carpenter. After a while of putting the truck through the ringer as his work truck, Taichi decided that he wanted it be lower. Not yet familiar with the ins and outs of "cool," he took his truck to be 'bagged with the factory body kit still intact. Taichi slowly became more and more interested in minitrucks, so he began to attend a few shows around Japan and he quickly realized his truck had a long way to go if he wanted to compete with the best custom minitrucks of Japan.

Knowing that he would need a lot of help from a shop with style this time around, Taichi brought his truck to Flips custom shop in Saitama, Japan. They have 'bagged and body-dropped a ton of minitrucks and have even had a couple featured here in MT. Now that his truck was in good hands, Taichi was able to ditch the ugly duckling status and the factory body kit. With help from Flips, Taichi's Nissan was on the ground in no time and was slowly turning into the swan that it was destined to become. Over the past few years, Taichi has turned into a full-blown minitrucker, and even though his truck was fully painted he continues to make more modifications to take it to the next level. He added the King Cab bed, and most recently (after these photos were taken) he swapped out the front fascia for Nissan Xterra headlights and grille.

Even though we are thousands of miles apart, Japanese minitruckers still share the same passion and dedication as the minitruckers here in the States. Once they attend their first show, they are instantly hooked and work toward turning their own ugly ducklings into the swans that they envision. Maybe we're not so different after all? Stay tuned for more of the some of the world's baddest minitrucks as we continue to bring you the best of the best from around the planet! For more information on Taichi's Hardbody, check out The Lowdown.