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Japan's Motorcycle Wars: An Industry History Paperback – Jan 1 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: UBC Press (Jan. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0774814543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0774814546
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #815,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


For decades the crown jewels of Japan’s postwar manufacturing industry, motorcycles remain one of Japan’s top exports. Japan’s Motorcycle Wars assesses the historical development and societal impact of the motorcycle industry, from the influence of motor sports on vehicle sales in the early 1900s to the postwar developments that led to the massive wave of motorization sweeping the Asia-Pacific region today.

Jeffrey Alexander brings a wealth of information to light, providing English translations of transcripts, industry publications, and company histories that have until now been available only in Japanese. By exploring the industry as a whole, he reveals that Japan’s motorcycle industry was characterized not by communitarian success but by misplaced loyalties, technical disasters, and brutal competition.


Reading this book is a revelation and a thrill. It is an excellent example of business history done right. Alexander's contribution here is thoroughly original; he gives us a rare look into the experiences of the losers as well as the winners in Japanese business. He will open the eyes of everyone in the field to the significance of the motorcycle industry on Japan's economic and technological development. (William Tsutsui, author of Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth-Century Japan)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a very detailed look at the motorcycle industry in japan.
a must read! I am reading the book for the second time. Luc Menard.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Japans Cycle Wars A +++ Sept. 22 2009
By Charles W. Goad - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book ! I was intially worried that the writing would be bogged down with facts and figures and not much story, boy was I wrong. This book covers it all. It does indeed have many facts and figures, however it has many interesting stories from the men who lived during this era of motorcycle production. The author does a excellent job of keeping the reader wanting to go on to the next chapter. I espicially enjoyed the chapter " The Rise of the Big Four". This book has it all, great inside stories, pictures, charts and graphs, facts and figures, and a history lesson on the Japanese motorcycle buisness. Jeffrey Alexander has written a first of its kind book and deserves much credit !
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book on a mostly unknown part of motorcyle history May 24 2011
By Scott Spoerry - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a motorcyclist...I've owned German motorcycles and Japanese bikes too. I knew the history of the German BMW and Maico machines I've ridden and competed on.

I loved this book. I always knew that the the big four didn't just spring up out of whole cloth. But this book has given me a big chunk of the background I always wanted. On top of that, I find the post war re-industrialization of Japan very interesting. It's often the rebels (Japanese style rebels of course) who make a difference. In case you don't know, the Japanese government was dead set against Toyota building cars, "stick to trucks" they said, and we all know how that came out.
Well, the stories of the individuals who made the Japanese motyorcycle industry come alive and how they managed thru the lack of resources and equipment is a great story too. And just for giggles, although not mentioned in this book, after Honda became a success, the Japanense government told Mr. Honda to "stick with motorcycles" and we all know how that worked out too!
4.0 out of 5 stars For academics Feb. 17 2014
By Bill Boggs - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent story of the rise of the motorcycle industry told by an academic and economist. Not for the light reader. Great amount of detail. You'll know the gory details from start to finish, every bank loan and very economic fumble. Little on the bikes, lots on the business.
4.0 out of 5 stars Wrong facts on engine Sept. 8 2015
By alan morley - Published on
Format: Paperback
On page 162 the book states that Kawasaki's first 650cc motorcycle the w1,had a air cooled 2 stroke engine with rotary disc valves .Don't think so Mr Alexander!!! Please get your facts straight, we pay good money for books like yours.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must For the Japanese Motorcycle Historian Aug. 22 2014
By mark bayer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Indispensable material for the serious Japanese motorcycle historian. Well documented, excellent coverage, well written and covers material which is very hard to find. Worth whatever price you pay!