If you haven’t already heard about this amazing story, here’s what happened:
Canadian, Peter Mark, found a cargo van container washed ashore on remote Graham Island’s beach in British Columbia last April. Among other things, the contents of this weathered container included a 2004 Softtail Night Train motorcycle. Over the course of a year, the container had drifted over 4,000 miles after being swept away during the devastating tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. The Japanese license plate was still attached to the bike and authorities were able to get in contact with (29 year old) owner Ikuo Yokoyama. Many individuals attempted to come together to restore and return the bike, but Yokoyama declined the offer. Instead, he requested the bike be held at the Harley-Davidson Museum (Milwaukee, WI) in memory of over 15,000 lives lost during the tsunami.
“It is truly amazing that my Harley-Davidson motorcycle was recovered in Canada after drifting for more than a year,” said 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. I am very grateful to Harley-Davidson for offering me an opportunity to visit the museum, and I would like to do that when things have calmed down. At the same time, I would like to meet Peter, who recovered my motorcycle, to express my gratitude. Finally, I would like to thank all people around the world once again for their wholehearted support of the areas hit by the earthquake and Tsunami. 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.” ( As reported by http://www.usridernews.com)
Being so far away from the disaster of the tsunami and having nothing to relate the sheer devastation of 15,000 lives lost to, I found it hard to imagine what it was and is like for the survivors in Japan. Seeing this beat up bike gives you a glimpse of the destruction that thousands were dealing with after the initial event. I feel for Yokoyama and am so impressed by his desire to give the museum a piece of history. According to reports, he’s still living in temporary housing, as are many, and continuing to rebuild his life. If you get a chance, visit the museum in the near future and check out this bike. I’m sure it will put a lot into perspective.
The Harley-Davidson Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursday. It’s located at 400 W Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53201. Click here for Visitor Information from their official site.