Harley-Davidson To Restore and Return Tsunami Survivor’s Bike
Parts of Japan are still reeling from the massive earthquake and tsunami that decimated the nation’s northern coast in 2011. Thousands were killed and even more left injured and homeless by the natural disasters and ensuing fires. The tragic event also sent an untold number of personal possessions drifting across the oceans, some of which are just now reaching other shores.
Somehow in the midst of this massive, unthinkable tragedy, even a small silver lining has emerged for a Japanese gearhead who thought he lost almost everything he cared about or loved.
Ikuo Yokoyama of Yamamoto, Japan lost three family members in the tsunami. He lived in a temporary home for more than a year after the devastating disaster. Even though nothing can restore those great losses, Yokoyama did manage to get one thing back that he thought was gone forever: his beloved Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
A storage container containing Yokoyama’s bike and some other personal possessions washed into the ocean and drifted more than 3,100 miles to the coast of British Columbia in Canada. Peter Mark found the container sitting on the beach and was surprised to discover the motorcycle, along with some golf clubs, tools and camping equipment. Somehow the entire bike was still in one piece. Even the motorcycle’s iconic emblem still sat in its rightful place on the rusty ride.
The bike still had a license plate along with some photos in the container that provided the name of a moving company, so Mark traced the number to Japan. He learned that the bike was registered in Miyagi Prefecture, a town that received the full brunt of the tsunami.
Harley-Davidson learned about the bike and helped Mark find the bike’s original owner. The company also volunteered to see if they can fully restore the bike for Yokoyama and ship it back to him in Japan.
Yokoyama said he was “ecstatic” to learn about his bike. He looks forward to being able to go for a ride with his “buddy” once again.
If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, please turn in your gearhead card at the nearest Moped store.