Harley lost in tsunami to be displayed in museum

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A Harley-Davidson that traveled by sea will be finding a permanent home in Wisconsin. Image: John.Karakatsanis/Flickr/CC BY-SA

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was lost in a Japanese tsunami last year and washed ashore in Canada will be exhibited in a U.S. motorcycle museum to honor all those who were killed or devastated by the disaster.

At sea more than a year

The 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train bike, still in a Styrofoam-lined storage crate, washed ashore on Haida Gwaii, an island off the north coast of British Columbia, Canada, where it was spotted by resident Peter Mark on April 18. It had crossed some 7,000 miles of Pacific Ocean in its more than one-year journey.

Owner requests display

The motorcycle belonged to 29-year-old Ikuo Yokoyama, who lost his home and three family members in the March 11, 2011 tsunami and is living in temporary housing in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, as he tries to rebuild his life. Harley-Davidson offered to restore the bike to running condition and return it to Yokoyama, but he turned it down, requesting instead that it be put on display as a tribute to the people, like himself, who had their lives uprooted by the disaster.

Yokoyama said in a statement released by Harley-Davidson:

“It is truly amazing that my Harley-Davidson motorcycle was recovered in Canada after drifting for more than a year … I would be delighted if it could be preserved in its current condition and exhibited to the many visitors to the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to a tragedy that claimed thousands of lives … I would like to ask them to help convey messages from the Japanese people about the tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which was a disaster of historic proportions.”

Harley-Davidson honors request

Friday, it was announced that Yokoyama’s wishes will be honored and the motorcycle will be making its way to the Harley-Davidson museum in Milwaukee, Wis.

Harley-Davidson also offered Yokoyama a chance to come visit the motorcycle on display, something he says he would like to do when his life is a little calmer. He also expressed a desire to meet and thank Peter Mark, who found the bike in Canada.

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A ‘powerful story to convey’

Mark also commented on the bike’s becoming part of the Milwaukee collection:

“I think it is fitting that the Harley, which was swept across the Pacific Ocean by the tsunami, will end up in the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to that tragic event. It has an interesting and powerful story to convey, preserved in its current state … I cannot even begin to comprehend the loss of family, friends and community.”

Bill Davidson, Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum said that the facility is “honored to receive this amazing motorcycle.”


Vancouver Sun 

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