The Japanese motorcycle industry today is the world leader in motorcycle manufacturing. In this country, almost every citizen has a similar technique, regardless of gender and age. But it was not always so. In the pre-war period, the production of motorcycles was only 1350 units per year in 1930 and 3000 in 1940. The high price of the products made them affordable only for the wealthy. But the technique in those years was represented by copies of British and German brands, inferior in quality and characteristics to the originals. Motorcycle production remained low until 1960 when the number of bikes produced exceeded one million.
Since the beginning of the sixties, Japan’s development of this type of industry proceeded at an accelerated pace. When Europe was struggling for the survival of its brands, the Japanese improved technology and ramped up production. Today Japanese technology is the world market leader. All athletes seek to acquire its brands since the Japanese motorcycle has become a guarantee of victory in any competition. Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha are not all the leading brands in this country and the world. And it is almost impossible to single out one among them, calling it the best.
The year of its foundation is considered 1955. It was on May 1 of this year that the brand declared itself as an independent unit. Until that time, Yamaha Motor was part of the giant Nippon Gakki concern, the name of the founder of which was given as the name of the future leader of the world motorcycle industry. Located in Iwata, Shizuoka. Today its owners are Yamaha Corporation and Toyota, and production includes motorcycles and engines for various equipment, musical instruments. The company has subsidiaries Minarelli, MBK.
The logo of the company, like almost all Japanese motorcycle brands, is known all over the world. The design uses the traditional aka red, which is very popular in Japan. Since ancient times, it was believed that he scares away the forces of evil and averts failure. The emblem consists of a sign with three crossed tuning forks, symbolizing a strong connection between the company’s ideology’s three pillars: technology, production, and sales. Only Yamaha Motor’s tuning forks extend beyond the circle symbol. In addition to the sign, the second accent element is the brand name made in Latin letters, which is the name of the founder of the company.
Quality, design, speed, and economy are highly appreciated by motorcycle enthusiasts and professionals in Japanese Honda. Founded in 1937 by Soichiro Honda, Tokai Seiki Heavy Industry produced piston rings of the owner’s own design. The hostilities during the Second World War destroyed the production facilities. Soichiro Honda was forced to sell what was left of Toyota by investing in the Honda Technical Research Institute. The company changed its name in 1948, becoming the Honda Motor Company, which made motorbikes, making the Honda Model A available to most Japanese.
The prototype of the now famous motorcycle and scooter logo was applied in 1973. And already in 1988, after some changes, the brand’s motorcycles became the owners of the latter option. The emblem of the spread wing – a symbol of flight, lightness, and freedom with the inscription under it the brand name was finalized for the 40th anniversary of the company. The wing was simplified and “brought” to modern visualization requirements. Red color, aka, was applied evenly without transitions and halftones on all elements of the emblem. Today, the logo is often used in conjunction with the new motto – The Power of Dreams.
One of the oldest Japanese brands, Suzuki, known today as a leading motorcycle brand, was founded in October 1909. Its founder Michio Suzuki established the Suzuki Loom Company, a successful loom manufacturer in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. In 1952, the company manufactured a bicycle with a small motor for the convenience of its employees commuting to work. For the further development of this direction, a subsidy was allocated by the government of Japan. Within two years, the production was producing more than 6,000 pieces per month. From that moment on, the company changed its name to Suzuki Motor Co.
The company emblem, which has existed for over 60 years unchanged, includes two main colors revered in Japanese culture – red, aka, which is filled with the stylized first letter of the brand name “S,” symbolizing passion, integrity, and adherence to tradition, and blue – “ao” denoting perfection, greatness, and universal accessibility. It carries the brand name located to the right of the sign. The logo is simple, easy to remember, and laconic. On motorcycles, the emblem is in metallic silver.
Shōzō Kawasaki is the founder of the eponymous motorcycle brand. The Kawasaki Tsukiji shipyard, created by him in 1887, became an example of the most modern technologies for the production of ships, adopted by him from European shipbuilders. This led to the name change to Kawasaki Dockyard Co and the development of the then fantastic scuba diving units. The company was distinguished by applying innovative ideas, reflected in its production: in 1906 – the first submarine; in 1922 – the first aircraft. And in 1963, the Kawasaki Motorcycle Corporation was already founded, which bought the motorcycle manufacturer Meguro, providing the creation of a new and promising production of Kawasaki motorcycles. Today the office of the world’s largest corporation Kawasaki Heavy Industries is located in Tokyo.
The company’s logo underwent its last change in 2014 when a badge was added to the traditional graphic representation of the brand name. It was used for the first time on the new Kawasaki Ninja H2. It features an emblem made in the traditional lime green color with a stylized K top symbol, rounded legs, and a text underneath – the brand name. The sign has two meanings – an abbreviation of the name and a “river” sign, which symbolizes the adherence to the traditions originating from the brand’s original history.
The official history of the “multipurpose” brand Tohatsu dated to 1932, when the company was the first in Japan to develop and assemble internal combustion engines. In 1950, the brand added the motorcycle theme to its production and developed it until the mid-60s of the last century. Having managed to gain the title of one of the largest manufacturers of Japanese motorcycles in the 50s, the company gradually reduced their production by the mid-60s, closing this topic completely and producing only outboard motors for boats and motors for pumps, etc.
The logo featured on the company’s motorcycles was a gradient steel-gray circle with a stylized “T” symbol in the center. It crossed the circle with its upper part, and with its lower – arrow-shaped, it rested against its outer border. The letter looks more like the Latin “V,” with left and right endings made thicker than the rest of its parts. For the selection, black was used, which ensured its accent visibility against the background of the circle. Under the sign was the text in the Arial Nova Bold type, but somewhat narrowed. The font is black, making the mark an accent figure.
In the history of the world and Japanese motorcycle production, there is a brand whose model has received the nickname “Japanese Harley.” Built on the Japanese brand Rikuo Internal Combustion stocks, which was a Harley-Davidson distributor at the time. From 1922 until almost the beginning of World War II, American HD exported its motorcycles to Japan. With the help of this company, it licensed them to assemble their motorcycles from local parts. In the early thirties of the last century, Rikuo operated under the Harley brand, and then Rikuo until 1958. The company had its base in the capital of Japan and ensured the birth of the Japanese motorcycle industry.
The brand’s logo was developed immediately after the war. Having ceased to represent itself as a representative of Harley-Davidson, although continuing to use the designs of the latter’s models, the company produced models that had an emblem with a graphic image of the brand name. On the first models, it was a metal sign with a protective coating, and in the 50s, it was already presented in volumetric red letters with a gold substrate flowing around the text. The text was executed in a signature in Latin letters, sweepingly and with a “swift” slope, symbolizing movement and striving forward.
Motorcycles under the Miyata logo are a little familiar to fans of this type of technology. The brand has been best known as a bicycle manufacturer since 1890, and its vintage production still exists today. However, Miyata stood at the origins of the formation of the motorcycle industry in Japan, releasing several models on the domestic market under the name Asahi. The Asahi AA was the production motorcycle that first appeared in Japan as a vehicle available to the general public. The company pioneered a new direction in this area – developing and producing series of the same model with its subsequent modifications. However, this direction did not exist for a long time under this brand.
Like most Japanese brands, his logo was executed in red – aka, symbolizing a historical adherence to national traditions and a passion for achieving goals. It consisted of a sign – a gear, the inner space occupied by a lowercase letter “M” – the first from the brand name. Next, aligned by the height of the sign, was the text – the name of the brand “Miyata,” made in thick Latin script, in capital letters with the right slope, which in such variants symbolizes constant movement.
Hobuji Murato co-founded Meguro Manufacturing Co in 1937 with Takaji Suzuki. Due to Suzuki’s high-ranking position, the company obtained government and defense orders to produce special motorcycles. The brand equipped the Japanese police, created models for military purposes. It was the Meguro motorcycles that were the main competitors for Honda in the first racing competition. But the end of government orders and the transition to the production of light motorcycles led the company to bankruptcy. Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd acquired the brand. In the future, the new owner continued to release his motorcycles under the old name but soon closed production. Today, 60 years later, Kawasaki is attempting to revive it.
The brand’s emblem was distinguished by originality and the presence of a composition rich in elements. It was an image of a pedestal on which the letters “M” were placed – the first letter of the brand name, standing on its side with a mirror image of its take. They were separated by a vertical line and painted in bronze. The letters were voluminous. The side of them had a fill-in two colors – light blue and its deep dark shade. Left and right, from the lowest points, they were covered by two open white wings, directed backward, forming a visual perception of flight. Under the sign on the face of the pedestal, the brand’s name was inscribed on a light blue background in maroon color.
Marusho is a Japanese motorcycle brand founded after the 1948 war by Masashi Ito in Hamamatsu. The brand lasted until 1967, creating one of the best models of the Japanese motorcycle industry, the Marusho Lilac ML, in 1950, which is included in the list of 240 representatives of the best auto and motorcycle products in Japan. As the best student of Honda Sōichirō, founder of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Masashi Ito applied his knowledge to develop a unique shaft-driven motorcycle, which led to the creation of Lilac, which became the winner of the race at Asama Volcano. The founder of the brand himself passed away in 2005. He was 92 years old.
The company emblem was used in various designs. The main sign is two circles of different sizes inscribed with the letter “M” inscribed in their inner space filled with black. The outer edge of the larger circle has also been highlighted in black. The distance between the outer and inner circle and the letter “M,” which had a right slope, was filled with light brown color. The text was written in black on the brownfield between the circles. Above is the brand name. At the bottom – Made in Japan.
The Japanese company Hodaka, which produced motorcycles from 1964 to 1978, was a Japanese-American joint venture. Until that time, she was engaged in the production of propulsion systems for Yamaguchi models. Its distributor, PABATCO Pacific Basin Trading Company, was headquartered in Athens, Oregon, USA. This company was responsible for the chassis design and design, while Hodaka was responsible for the engines, production, and assembly technology. The choice of the brand name was influenced by the geographical factor – the name of the nearby mountain. The Hodaka / PABATCO joint venture entered the US market and sparked the trail bike craze. In 1978 Hodaka was closed.
The company logo is quite simple and combines three colors – traditional red, white, and black. It consists of several circles inscribed into each other, the outer of which has a black circle and a field up to the second smaller circle filled with red. Along the circle on this field, the brand name is written in white – in the upper part and lower – the word “motorcycles.” The red circle is followed by a white rim separating it from the central smaller black circle. It contains a figure in a white isosceles triangle, symbolizing the accumulation and realization of strength and power. The first letter of the brand “H” is also inscribed in it in white. The combination of white black symbolizes elegance and aristocracy, creating the required accent and ease of visual memorization.