Thousands of miles from its home in Japan, a Harley-Davidson FXSTB Softail Night Train was found washed up along the coast in British Columbia. Earlier this year, the motorcycle had floated all the way across the Pacific Ocean in a container that had once been part of a box truck.
The truck had broken apart after it had been washed out to sea during the tsunami that followed the Tōhoku earthquake, and the arrival of the Harley-Davidson, along with countless other pieces of debris, was a stark reminder to the devastation that had occurred along the Japanese coast just a year prior, in 2011.
Bearing a license plate from the Miyagi Prefecture in Japan, many feared that the motorcycle’s owner had perished in the earthquake or tidal wave, and that the Harley-Davidson would serve as yet another story of loss from the tragic event.
However, through the works of numerous parties, including Harley-Davidson and the Japanese consulate in Canada, the bike was identified as belonging to Ikuo Yokoyama. Found to be living in temporary housing in the Miyagi Prefecture, Yokoyama-san seemed set to be reunited with his Harley-Davidson, until something unexpected happened — the Japanese man refused to have the motorcycle returned to him.
Unwilling to take such a luxury item when so many around him had nothing, Yokoyama-san instead wished for his 2004 Harley-Davidson Softail Night Train to stay in North America, and serve as a testament to the devastation that laid havoc to Japan. Finding a home in the Harley-Davidson Museum, Yokoyama-san’s motorcycle is now on display for all to witness and reflect upon.
“It is truly amazing that my Harley-Davidson motorcycle was recovered in Canada after drifting for more than a year,” said Ikuo Yokoyama. “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to Peter Mark, the finder of my motorcycle. Due to circumstances caused by the disaster, I have been so far unable to visit him in Canada to convey my gratitude.”
“Since the motorcycle was recovered, I have discussed with many people about what to do with it. 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,” added Yokoyama.
Now on exhibit at the Milwaukee-based museum, Yokoyama-san’s motorcycle remains in the same condition it was found along the beach of Graham Island in British Columbia by Canadian Peter Mark.
“We’re truly humbled to display Mr. Yokoyama’s motorcycle,” said Bill Davidson, Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum. “This motorcycle has an amazing story to tell, and we are honored to be able to share it.”
The Harley-Davidson Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., with the exception of Thursday, when it is open until 8 p.m. If you are in the area, we highly recommend seeing the exhibit.
Source: Harley-Davidson Museum