Harley-Davidson is putting a motorcycle lost in the Japanese tsunami, and found 4,000 miles away a year later in Canada, on display at its museum in Milwaukee.
The company had offered to restore and return the 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train to its owner, Ikuo Yokoyama.
However, the 29-year-old Japanese man said he would rather its kept as a tribute to the 15,000 people who died in the tragedy.
“Since the motorcycle was recovered, I have discussed with many people about what to do with it,” Yokoyama said, according to a statement from Harley-Davidson. “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.”
Peter Mark was wandering the coastline of remote British Columbia in April when he found a shipping container with the Harley inside, CBC News said.
With help of friends and a BC dealership, they traced the bike’s license plate back to Japan.
Rusted and badly damaged, it's currently at a Vancouver dealership.
“I cannot even begin to comprehend the loss of family, friends and community,” Mark said. “It has an interesting and powerful story to convey preserved in its current state.”
Mark and Yokoyama are hoping to meet at the Milwaukee museum when the exhibit if finalized.
An earthquake triggered a tsunami last spring that devastated regions of the Japanese coastline, killing thousands and displacing many more.
Yokoyama lost three family members and almost everything he owned; he still lives in temporary housing.
Canadians donated $10,000 to have the bike shipped back to him when Harley-Davidson stepped in to help, too.
“I’ve always felt Harley-Davidson motorcycles have a soul, and their owners obviously have an emotional attachment to their bikes. I just wanted to reunite this bike with its owner,” said Steve Drane of Steve Drane Harley-Davidson in Victoria.
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