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Kaizen: The Influence of the Japanese Motorcycle

Honda Scrambler
Honda Scrambler

Antique Motorcycle Foundation Japanese Motorcycle Exhibit

January 15, 2012 –  The Antique Motorcycle Foundation will open an exhibit entitled “Kaizen: The Influence of the Japanese Motorcycle” at the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh, New York in 2012.

It will be the first exhibit dedicated solely to Japanese motorcycle history to be assembled at a major American motorcycle museum.

The Japanese word “Kaizen” means “beneficial change” and is a philosophy of continuous improvement currently used in modern manufacturing strategies.

But in post-war Japan industry it had a larger meaning. “Kaizen” was also used to describe a philosophy of work and manufacturing that became the key to the product quality and innovative designs that enabled Japanese brands to penetrate, then quickly dominate international markets with products built to a higher standard.

Kawasaki H1

Under the principles of Kaizen, every worker was encouraged to identify small changes that would reduce waste in a war-torn nation where essential resources were so hard to come by. It was soon realized that the by-products of the relentless drive to reduce waste and cost were improved quality and efficiency.

Many of the manufacturing methods developed by the Japanese became components of a worldwide manufacturing revolution that became known as “Total Quality Management,” but only after the Japanese proved by dominating markets that they had learned a better way.

The practice of Kaizen not only enabled the Japanese to become dominant in the American motorcycle market, but it resulted in “beneficial change” to the motorcycle industry as a whole. When the market became larger, it helped the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers to reach a broader range of customers, generated more profit, and improved the public opinion of motorcycling in America.

Consequently, Kaizen, the exhibit, will be more than an exhibit to celebrate the beauty and technology of Japanese motorcycles. It will also celebrate a philosophy that altered and benefited the worldwide motorcycle industry.

Honda Scrambler
Honda Scrambler

Kaizen: The Influence of the Japanese Motorcycle is scheduled to open in mid-September 2012 and will run through August 2014. It will contain upwards of 50 motorcycles, plus artifacts, posters, and advertisements of the period from the late 1950s through 1980.

At present, the curatorial team is networking among collectors to locate the motorcycles that will be selected for the exhibit. While both restored and original-paint motorcycles will be chosen, in all cases very high appearance standards will be adhered to.

While the exhibit will run for two years, in some cases one-year loans will be accepted. For more information about the Kaizen Exhibit, contact one of its curators: Roger Smith ( or Ed Youngblood (

Motorcyclepedia (Wikipedia page), which opened in April 2011, contains more than 400 motorcycles and memorabilia displayed over 85,000 square feet of floor space, placing it among the leading motorcycle museum in the nation.

Suzuki X6
Suzuki X6

It contains a diverse array of motorcycles and artifacts, including the largest single collection of Indian motorcycles anywhere, a large collection of 1960s and ’70s customs, military and police motorcycles, and periodically changing exhibits sponsored by the Antique Motorcycle Foundation, Inc.

The Antique Motorcycle Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization created to tell the story of antique motorcycling so that the role and influence of the motorcycle in our transportation history and technological development can be better understood and appreciated.

The Foundation seeks to advance the interests of all motorcycle collectors, regardless of the interests in periods, brands, or motorcycle nations of origin.

The AMF is supported solely by gifts and monetary contributions, for which contributors may receive tax-deductions.

Yamaha Big Bear Scrambler
Yamaha Big Bear Scrambler