May 10, 2009

ハーレー「ファットボーイ」の都市伝説:The Myth of Harley-Davidson Fat Boy

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy FLSTF 1990 (Gray Ghost) - Terminator 2(1991)

During the Easter week in Hawaii, my husband rented out the Harley Davidson Fatboy one day and toured around Oahu with my son.   Two weeks before the trip, I had written up this entry about Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only person who officially survived both "Little Boy" bomb in Hiroshima and "Fat Man" bomb in Nagasaki.  That's why when I heard the name 'Fat Boy,' I was a bit confused.  "What the.... it's a hybrid of two atomic bombs...Is that a coincidence?"

I didn't tell anything about it, though, because he was all excited to ride the bike he had long dreamed about.  It must be a stretch.  "Where are you going?"  "East!" and off they went.  In about an hour, I called them up to see where they were.  He said, "Guess what? We're in Pearl Harbor!"  Gosh...

Urban Myth

Returned from a trip, I searched on internet to see if there's any association between Harley-Davidson's Fatboy and two atomic bombs.  It turns out that I'm not the only one looking for answers to the same question.  Some say it's a historical fact, while others say it's just an urban legend.;

Urban myth alleges that the best-selling Harley-Davidson FLSTF Fat Boy was named after the atom bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. It's a combination of "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" - the devices that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Conspiracy theorists believe the Milwaukee company chose the tag as a kind of symbolic revenge against the Japanese bike manufacturers, whose superior technology dominated their markets in the 1970s and 1980s.

That's all nonsense. A glance at the motorcycle reveals that its name is purely descriptive.  -The Independent, Nov. 2006

Urban Legend reference pages,, also debunks the widespread rumor, saying all of those claims listed below are "a collection of manufactured coincidences";
  1. The original color of the FLSTF "Fat Boy" is silver, same as the B29 bombers, Enola Gay and Bock's Car.
  2. The solid rivited wheels: same as the B-29 bombers
  3. Seven gold accent rings found on the 1990 bike:  same as the ones on the atomic bombs
  4. US Air Force looking emblem on the tank
  5. Name play: Fat Man + Little Boy = Fat Boy
  6. (not listed/ unconfirmed) The Fat Man was released on the 45th anniversay of the attack
I usually trust, but this one is....I don't know. To say "Who would do such a thing? Nobody, we hope" is... well, just a hope. It fails to provide any substantial evidence to support the denial, and the whole thing sounds more like a boring Politically Correctiveness textbook.  But probably that's the best they can, because, as someone summed up in Harley-Davidson fan forum, nobody expects Harley Davidson would ever commit corporate suicide by actually admitting it, even if it's true.  Whether it's true or not is anyone's guess.

Hiroshima immigrants in Hawaii

Just a sidenote.  During the trip, I also realized that Hiroshima was where the largest number of immigrants had come to Hawaii. As this study (pdf.) shows, "In 1924, the last year of the wave of immigration from Japan, Hiroshima immigrants in Hawaii numbered 30534, comprising 24.3% of the total Japanese population in Hawaii."  (Immigration Act of 1924 banned further immigrations of Asians).

Apparently, this has nothing to do with the "Why Hiroshima?" question.  However, there could have been a very subtle connection in terms of capital movement. ; 
"Locally, as in Hiroshima prefecture, the remittances and sums brought back amounted to more than half as much as the whole prefecture government spent.  In short, the importance of Japanese migrants in America was substantial in Japan. It may even be that the money earned in America helped build Hiroshima into such an industrial center that it became a prime military target in World War 2."(p.161, Thomas Sowell, "Ethnic America")
Like in my previous entry, I don't know how I could deal with such an irony.





Harley-Davidson FLSTF Fat Boyは1945年日本に投下された原爆に因んで名前がつけられた、という都市神話がある。"Fat Man"と"Little Boy"という広島・長崎を破壊したデバイスの掛け合わせ、という説だ。


そんなの全くもってナンセンス。純粋に特徴を表す名前なことぐらい、バイクをひと目見れば分かる。 (2006年11月、英紙ザ・インデペンデント

  1. FLSTF "Fat Boy"の初号モデルのカラーはシルバー。B29爆撃機のエノラ・ゲイおよびボックスカーと同じ
  2. リベット打ちのホイール:B-29爆撃機と同じ
  3. ゴールドのアクセントリング7つ(1990モデル限定):核爆弾の模様と同じ
  4. タンクには米空軍風エンブレム
  5. 命名:Fat Man + Little Boy = Fat Boy
  6. (未確認/リストにはないが根強い噂) 爆弾投下45周年を記念して1990年に発売された
Snopes.comはいつも信用する方なんだけど、これはどうかなあ…これ全部偶然なの? 「そんな薄気味悪いマーケティング判断、誰がする? 誰もしませんて」とは言うけど、その否定の裏づけになる証拠はゼロ。「あってはならない=あるはずない=ない」という3段論法で、まるで出来の悪いポリティカル・コレクトネス(PC)の文章である。




一見これは「何故 ヒロシマ?」という疑問とは無関係に思えるが、資本移動に着目するとそうでもないことがわかる。
「移民出身地方では、広島県のように、移民からの仕送りと帰国した移民の持参金が県財政支出の半分を占めるほどだった。要するにアメリカ日系移民の日本における存在は相当大きかった。アメリカで稼いだ金の助けで広島は第2次世界大戦の主要攻撃目標となるまでの工業中心地となった、ということもできる。(p.161, Thomas Sowell, "Ethnic America")



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