On March 11th, 2011 one of the most powerful recorded earthquakes struck the Land of The Rising Sun, approximately 43 miles east of the island nation and at a depth of approximately 20 miles. As if the earthquake wasn’t horrible enough what would follow proved to even deadlier, a powerful tsunami bringing in waves as high as 133 feet, and propelling them almost 6 miles inland. The magnitude of this epic event is believed to have moved the main island as much as 8 feet east, and shifted the Earth’s axis between 4 and 10 inches.
As with any natural disaster many stories of survival, tragedy, and overall loss come to light, but few have as interesting of an outcome as a motorcycle that made a year long, 4,000 plus mile journey to a remote island in Canada. After discovering a weathered storage container that had washed ashore, Peter Mark looked inside and found the 2004 Harley-Davidson Night Train belonging to Ikuo Yokoyama (the Japaneese license plate was still attached and lead to the owner)and let him know his bike had made it to Canada. Numerous offers of restoration and reuniting the storied bike with it’s owner were declined with Yokoyama stating,“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.”
Last Wednesday October 24, The Harley-Davidson Museum located in Milwaukee, WI unveiled a special display featuring Ikuo Yokoyama’s Harley that drifted for more than a year across the Pacific Ocean following the tragic tsunami that devastated parts of northern Japan in March of 2011. The 2004 Harley-Davidson FXSTB Night Train, recovered off the coast of British Columbia by Peter Mark, is being displayed at Yokoyama’s request. He asked to have the motorcycle preserved in its current condition and displayed at the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to those whose lives were lost or forever changed by the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Still struggling to rebuild his life in the aftermath of the disaster, Yokoyama declined Harley-Davidson’s offer to return the bike to him, although he was grateful for the offer and touched by the outpouring of support from Harley riders around the world. This remarkable story of the motorcycle’s survival and recovery made international headlines after Mark found it washed ashore on a remote beach on British Columbia’s Graham Island at low tide. He discovered the motorcycle, still bearing its Japanese license plate, in a container where the bike was being stored by Yokoyama.
If you would like to see this incredible survivor and more fascinating bikes, visit The Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee , WI open daily from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., with the exception of Thursday, when it is open until 8 p.m.