Japanese man claims motorcycle that washed up in Canada
A Canadian man says he found this Harley-Davidson in a storage container on a British Columbia beach in April.
May 2nd, 2012
07:20 PM ET

Japanese man claims motorcycle that washed up in Canada

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle believed to have traversed the Pacific Ocean to western Canada after being swept from coastal Japan during a March 2011 tsunami has been claimed by a Japanese man.

Ikuo Yokoyama, 29, of Yamamoto, Japan, says a Harley-Davidson representative tracked him down after the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. ran a story about the bike, which was found in a storage container on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii islands, the CBC reported.

Harley-Davidson now intends to restore the bike, which had rusted but still had its Miyagi Prefecture license plate, and send it back to Yokoyama, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported Wednesday.

Yokoyama, who NHK reported lost three family members and his home in the disaster, said he was "so glad that (the motorcycle) will be returned to me.”

“I would like to thank the man who found my bike in person,” Yokoyama said in an NHK interview aired on the CBC.

Peter Mark, a Haida Gwaii resident, told the CBC that he found the container - and the motorcycle, golf clubs, camping equipment and tools inside - on a beach on April 18.

“First I thought, this has got to be the craziest thing anyone has ever found,” Mark told the CBC. “Then I looked a little closer and the license had Japanese writing on it. The wall of the trailer had Japanese print on the tags. And the first thing that popped into my head was this is likely from the tsunami in Japan.”

Thousands of people in Japan were killed on March 11, 2011, during a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and a subsequent tsunami. The tsunami swept an enormous amount of debris from the island nation into the Pacific.

About 70% of the debris sank, according to Japanese government estimates, and no one knows how much of the remaining 1.5 million tons of debris still is floating in the Pacific.

But U.S. officials say some items from the disaster may be washing up on North American shores, thousands of miles from Japan, and that residents along the North Pacific should expect reports of debris to increase and continue over the next couple of years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there is no current "debris field." Rather, items, large and small, are scattered over a huge swath of the North Pacific and may make landfall intermittently.

Last month, CNN reported that a soccer ball found washed up on a remote Alaskan beach apparently belongs to a Japanese teenager. And the U.S. Coast Guard fired on and sank a rust-stained fishing trawler - swept from Japan by the tsunami - in Alaskan waters, saying that the unmanned vessel was a hazard to mariners.

Post by:
Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Canada • Japan
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. JB

    What do you think that restored bike would bring at Southby's auction?

    May 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thunder

      $3500 to 4500, all a used Sportster is worth, not like it was owned by Steve McQueen ....

      May 3, 2012 at 4:27 am | Report abuse |
    • mlwartman

      doesn't matter what model. this the 1 and only harley known to have survived the tsunami, the journey back across the ocean in the debris field, to then be found and restored to the original owner by harley.. the story behind that would make this bike worth $100k+ easily to the right collector.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Reflecto

      It will be worth far more to its owner.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • vab

      Drive belt on wrong side to be a sporty and its a softtail

      May 3, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. byrnelldesigns

    I wonder how much radiation is around that site...

    May 2, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      Cesium has a half-life of 5 days, Einstein. Wait a week and the answer is none.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jammaster

    This NEVER would have happened with a Honda, Yamaha, or Suzuki.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Thats because those bikes started on the first try and were fast enough to let their owners outrun the tsunami !

      May 3, 2012 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
    • BM

      You mean a yamahondasuzukisaki.....never

      May 3, 2012 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Agreed. They don’t need cheap PR stunts to push their brand.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      How far would they get running away inside a storage container, JP? 5 meters? 10? Seems silly to me.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Reflecto

    Really nice of HD to restore the man's ride.

    May 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Powell

      Agreed, big ups to Harley!

      May 3, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. mmi16

    Kuduos to Harley for their actions!

    May 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • catsnake

      oh wow, yeah like that's really gonna dent the ceo's pocketbook. they will probably just take it out of the line workers pay.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. phred

    I kind want to know who built that container....

    May 3, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. **cosmicVox *

    Great Story !!

    May 3, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Older But Wiser

    Yes, people are oooh'ing and ahhh'ing now. But after several hundreds of thousands of tonnes of 'stuff' starts washing up I am willing to bet people are going to be a lot less happy and a lot slower to claim it...

    May 3, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      What's your point? It was a natural disaster, the poor guy lost members of his family and you're complaining about litter?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Hog Heaven

      Actually the possibility to make a buck on any metals for recycling that may come ashore will be a big business. Lots of people going thru the debry trying to make a buck.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. Daniel

    Much respect to Harley-Davidson

    May 3, 2012 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. B

    Just another reason why I ride a Harley

    May 3, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Yea, the same reason the little wana-be thugs all were Nikes.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. Name*tim

    Here you go

    May 3, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. mike

    what's the difference between a harley and a vacuum cleaner.....the position of the dirt bag

    May 3, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Hog Heaven

      Thats so old it has dinasaur crap on it.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. James

    If you think that bike is a sportster, don't bother trying to estimate what it's worth.......

    May 3, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Don

    It's a Soft tail not in the Sportster family. Thunder probably owns a rice burner!

    May 3, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Lol another bolt buster burnt over a burner busting his balls. Your bikes a fat and slow.. just like their riders. You ride it for the name and that makes you a poser. Enjoy.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dennis

    Used Harley, One owner, Johnny Blaze.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4