Tsunami Softail on Display at Harley Museum

Harley-Davidson Museum Unveils Tsunami Softail Night Train

March 11, 2011. The date was one of pure devastation.

First arrived a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in northern Honshu, Japan. It was the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900, and the largest in Japan since recordings began over 130 years ago.

Following the quake was the Tsunami that brought 133-foot waves to Japan. The country was practically swallowed, along with thousands of people.

Out of this devastation came a sign of revival, though, when a year later a 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train docked itself on the coast of British Columbia’s Graham Island. The motorcycle, owned by Ikuo Yokoyama, floated 4,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean and was found by Canadian Peter Mark.

Along with the Softail that was donning Japanese plates was the remains of an insulated cargo van container. After some research with news agencies, Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada and Harley-Davidson Japan, Mark was able to track down Yokoyama, who at the time was living in temporary housing in Japan.

Harley offered to return the bike, but Yokoyama “respectfully declined.” Instead, Yokoyama asked to have it preserved as is in the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee in honor of the more than 15,000 people who succumbed to the injurious rage of Mother Nature on March 11, 2011.

And on Wednesday, Harley-Davidson unveiled the Tsunami Softail at its museum, the bike contained inside a glass enclosure. Behind the weathered machine is a memorial display.

Bill Davidson (Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum) says: “We’re truly humbled to display Mr. Yokoyama’s motorcycle. This motorcycle has an amazing story to tell, and we are honored to be able to share it.”

Want to check it out? The Harley-Davidson Museum on 400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Thursday until 8 p.m.

For additional information on the Museum’s galleries, exhibits, special events, tickets and more, visit h-dmuseum.com.