Tsunami Harley Exhibit at H-D Museum Oct. 24

October 19, 2012
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
Cruiser Editor |Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

Harley Japanese tsunami survivor
This 2004 Harley-Davidson Night Train that survived a tsunami then floated across an ocean and was eventually discovered a continent away will be on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum in a special exhibit opening Oct. 24.

It wasn’t that long ago that the story of the Harley-Davidson that washed up on the shores of Graham Island in British Columbia in the back of a Japanese cargo container made international headlines. The white container was the type typically found on a moving truck, the one in question washed out to sea in the aftermath of the Senadi earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. After floating across the Pacific Ocean for almost a year, the motorcycle was eventually traced back to Japan’s Myagi Prefecture and the former owner of the 2004 Harley-Davidson Night Train, Ikuo Yokoyama, was contacted and informed that his motorcycle had been discovered a continent away.

Though offers were made to return and restore the rusted-out Harley to its rightful owner, in light of the disaster that claimed more than 15,000 lives, Yokoyama turned them down. It instead will serve as a memorial to the tragedy that struck his country that fateful day. The Harley-Davidson Museum is reporting that the “Tsunami Motorcycle Display” will open October 24, 2012, in a special exhibit at the museum in Milwaukee. A descriptor of the “Legends Come to Life” exhibit states “Motorcycles, yes. But Harley-Davidson is so much more. See how far our world reaches.”

It’s amazing to think that this motorcycle was involved in a cataclysmic tsunami, got tumbled in the back of a cargo container like a rag doll in a washing machine, then was exposed to the acidic effects of salt water yet remains intact. Rusted and barnacle-encrusted, but intact. It is a survivor. It is a testament to the honor of the people who live in the land of its origin, demonstrated by Yokoyama’s selflessness in wanting the motorcycle to serve as a memorial instead of taking up the offers to have it returned and restored. The motorcycle sheds light on Harley’s claim that the motorcycle “is so much more.” Thanks to Yokoyama, hopefully many other people will see that light too when they visit the display at the Harley-Davidson Museum.