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Tsunami motorcycle now on display in Milwaukee
Harley-Davidson bike floated 4,000 miles after Japan's 2011 tsunami

MILWAUKEE - Every motorcycle at the Harley-Davidson Museum has a story but one particular bike made a journey unlike any other.

Ikuo Yokoyama lost everything when a tsunami hit Japan in March, 2011: three family members, his home, and his beloved Harley-Davidson Softail Night Train.
It seems unlikely, but more than a year later, the bike washed up on the shores of British Columbia. Peter Mark found it on Graham Island at low tide this past April, "You just never know what you're going to stumble upon when you go for a drive and lo and behold, you just come across something that's out of this world."

The bike took a wild ride all the way across the Pacific Ocean. Senior Curator at the Harley-Davidson Museum, Kristen Jones tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Jesse Ritka the container the motorcycle was in was the reason it isn't at the bottom of the ocean, "It was buoyant because it had all kinds of foam insulation and this bike journeyed over 4,000 miles from Japan." The unique Japanese license plate allowed the Harley-Davidson affiliate in Japan to track down the owner of the bike, Yokoyama, who also survived the tsunami. But Yokoyama turned down Harley-Davidson's offer to restore the bike.

Instead, he's donating his former motorcycle to the Milwaukee museum in remembrance of the more than 15,000 people who lost their lives in the tragic event. "The owner was very humble and really wanted to remember not only other riders who may have lost their lives but all of the people who were impacted by this disaster," explains Jones.

Allowing visitors from all around the world to reflect on the tsunami's destruction and see a piece of history. Klaus Schneider is from Germany but is in Milwaukee for work. He saw the bike while visiting the museum, "It's sad to see a bike in this condition but if you know the story behind, I don't know what I have to think because it's such a sad thing the tsunami." And while the 4,000 mile journey may have taken its toll on the bike, the rust and deterioration will serve as a memorial for those who lost more than a motorcycle back in March, 2011. The preserved 2004 Harley-Davidson FXSTB Softail Night Train will become a part of the museum's permanent collection and will be on display through next summer.

A year ago, Ikuo lost his home, 3 family members, and prized Harley Davidson Softail Night Rider to a Tsunami. Instead of accepting Harley Davidson's offer to repair it for free, he chose to donate his beloved Softail Night Train to the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. Despite what most people may think because of Japan's huge motorcycle industry, Harley Davidson's are very popular in Japan:

One thing is for certain, the man and his bike have fortitude. Wonder if those are the original forks and headlight. Don't see how, but if so, then the chrome held up well.

· shock factor unrated
12,402 Posts
i like that, great story

· The guitar, not the fish!
33,309 Posts
Just opened this and Jenny and I remember the original story...Pretty cool of him to donate it to the museum rather than have it restored...Without a doubt, that is a ONE OF A KIND ​Harley, that will never be replicated...

· Registered
3,620 Posts
That is amazing. My father-in-law works for honda and had lived in Japan for 3 yrs. He was sent home a month before the tsunami hit. It was crazy watching the video and him sharing about vacationing here, riding the train their, or shopping at that place.
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