The motorcycle will stand as a memorial to the tragedy that claimed more than 15,000 lives, in accordance with the wishes of its owner, Ikuo Yokoyama.
The 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train motorcycle was recovered by Canadian Peter Mark, who found it washed ashore on a remote beach on British Columbia's Graham Island at low tide. Mark discovered the motorcycle, still bearing its Japanese license plate, along with several other items, in the remains of an insulated cargo van container where the motorcycle was being stored by Yokoyama prior to the tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.
Working with news agencies and representatives from Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, and Harley-Davidson Japan, contact was made with 29-year-old Yokoyama, who lost his home and currently lives in temporary housing in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.
Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Motor Company extended an offer to return the bike to him and to restore it to running condition. Still struggling to rebuild his life in the aftermath of the disaster, which claimed the lives of three of his relatives, Yokoyama respectfully declined. Although grateful for the offer to repatriate his motorcycle and touched by the outpouring of support from Harley motorcycle riders around the world, Yokoyama instead asked for his bike to be preserved in the Harley-Davidson Museum in honor of those whose lives were lost or forever changed by the disaster.
"It is truly amazing that my Harley-Davidson motorcycle was recovered in Canada after drifting for more than a year," said Yokoyama. "I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to Peter Mark, the finder of my motorcycle. Due to circumstances caused by the disaster, I have been so far unable to visit him in Canada to convey 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."
"My heart really goes out to Ikuo Yokoyama and all the survivors of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami for everything that was taken from them. I cannot even begin to comprehend the loss of family, friends, and community," Mark said.
"The Harley-Davidson Museum is honored to receive this amazing motorcycle to ensure that its condition is preserved and can be displayed as a memorial to the Japan tsunami tragedy," said Bill Davidson, vice president of the Harley-Davidson Museum.