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Help to identify my 1960 Japanese 10-speed?

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Help to identify my 1960 Japanese 10-speed?

Old 04-18-20, 07:40 PM
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pcw_dg
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Help to identify my 1960 Japanese 10-speed?

I'm posting this at the suggestion of my son. It will be an impossible mission, but I would dearly love to determine the manufacturer of a 10-speed I got when I was 8 years old, in 1960. My grandfather won it as a prize at the newspaper where he worked, and gave it to me.

I couldn't reach the pedals at first, but I used it all through the 60s, during high-school and college. I even used it to ride from San Francisco to LA in 1973. It was stolen in '77 or '78.

I never thought to write down the manufacturer. I didn't even take a photo of it. Kicking myself.

But the other day, I was looking at an old family home movie, and by golly, there it was in a very short segment! See below if you'd like to see a screenshot of my mom with the bike. Unfortunately in the home movie, this view and one from the rear all there is.

The bike was gold, had a Japanese badge and components, and a nifty bag attached to the rear bike rack. It came with white plastic fenders, and had white brake and shift cables. The handlebars were wrapped with white tape.

I realize it's foolish to be asking about this when I have so little information about the bike. But I'm sure happy I ran across this movie segment!

I got on this forum specifically to ask this question. But it won't let me post! Says something about needing 10 posts before it'll put in a URL.

I put the photo in imgur, and here is the link, if anyone is interested.
imgur.com/gallery/BywOLqa

Thanks much
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Old 04-18-20, 08:37 PM
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Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

Love the picture of your mom with the bike!

If there is anyone who can help here it will be our resident expert on all matters having to do with Japanese bicycles, member T-Mar

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Old 04-18-20, 08:40 PM
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LOL!! Really? all we have to go on is the color and a Japanese badge? I?s this for real? if you could tell the badge was Japanese than why don't you know the brand name of the bike since it was on the badge? LOL!!! I would say it was a Mickey Mouse parade bike, how's that
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Old 04-18-20, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
LOL!! Really? all we have to go on is the color and a Japanese badge? I?s this for real? if you could tell the badge was Japanese than why don't you know the brand name of the bike since it was on the badge? LOL!!! I would say it was a Mickey Mouse parade bike, how's that
You know, it really wasn't necessary to say it like that.
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Old 04-18-20, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
LOL!! Really? all we have to go on is the color and a Japanese badge? I?s this for real? if you could tell the badge was Japanese than why don't you know the brand name of the bike since it was on the badge? LOL!!! I would say it was a Mickey Mouse parade bike, how's that
Wait until you are old and don't remember details.
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Old 04-18-20, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
Wait until you are old and don't remember details.

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+1

have been there for a while

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Old 04-18-20, 09:54 PM
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To be completely realistic about it, Japanese branded bikes weren't very popular in 1960. Memories of WWII were still fresh in the minds of many US families and, Japanese products were not liked or welcomed in the home. So, most of the Japanese bikes back then had very English sounding names like Royce Union, American Eagle, Bridgestone and, Apollo. After a decade or two, the US market warmed up to Japanese bikes & in the 70's & 80's real names changed to Fuji, Miyata, Lotus &, Shogun. Good luck trying to figure it all out.
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Old 04-18-20, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
Wait until you are old and don't remember details.
The OP is right between my younger brother and me in age.

I am going to hazard a guess and second the "Royce Union" option. American Eagle (Nishiki) didn't hit the US until ca. 1967-68.
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Old 04-18-20, 10:07 PM
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Great picture. Not of the bike, but of your mom in the early '60. Good explanation ramzilla .
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Old 04-19-20, 12:23 AM
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Treasure the picture of your mother more than the bike.
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Old 04-19-20, 12:53 AM
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Interesting story. It must have been a worthy bike to take you from San Francisco to LA! If it were me, I might research Japanese brands from the 60's and look for pictures that jogged my memory. Take a look at this thread.
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Old 04-19-20, 07:34 AM
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As previously noted, there weren't many Japanese manufactured bicycles marketed in the USA in the early 1960s, Those that were tended to have Anglicized names. The two most prominent were Royce Union and Skyway. However, another source of early 1960s Japanese bicycles were US service men stationed in Japan, who brought back bicycles with them. From what I've been told Katakura were available at some PX stores, so if the OP's father was a returning service man, that would be my leading candidate. However, if it was brought into the country privately and bought off base, it could have been any Japanese brand.
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Old 04-19-20, 08:02 AM
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Pic assist.
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Old 04-19-20, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
LOL!! Really? all we have to go on is the color and a Japanese badge? I?s this for real? if you could tell the badge was Japanese than why don't you know the brand name of the bike since it was on the badge? LOL!!! I would say it was a Mickey Mouse parade bike, how's that
My thoughts exactly, as I was posting this! But it's for real. I have been on the internet for a bunch of hours looking for something, including threads on this, ****** and other forums, so I know it's unlikely I'll ever be able to figure this out. But had to venture a try!

The newspaper where my grandfather won the bike was the Pasadena Star News. The PX stores are an interesting suggestion, maybe the newspaper picked it up from a local PX store. I contacted the Star News the other day, hoping they might still have records from the 60's, but of course they threw those out a while ago.

"Wait until you are old and don't remember details." - Love it! I also realize now how callow a youth I was. I took no pics of the bike, of my SF-LA trip, nothing? What an idiot. I do have a letter I wrote to my cousin, though. She gave it back to me recently. I had written to thank her for getting me up to the SF area - she and her boyfriend had visited us and we used his pickup to get the bike and myself up there (she lived in San Jose at the time). I'd also written a little about the trip, and it had some details I'd forgotten, so I was lucky about that.

The mention of Mickey is interesting. I grew up in Anaheim (Apollo St), and actually worked at D'land in the early '70s, and I would ride this bike to work and back. The first couple of years I was in foods, and would often close. Riding the bike home at 2am, the scent of the strawberries in the fields along West St - they grew them there at that time - was wonderful.

Get out and ride, and keep a journal for goodness sake!
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Old 04-19-20, 09:22 AM
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Sorry, didn't know the red it is banned...
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Old 04-19-20, 10:59 AM
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Try here; https://newspaperarchive.com/us/ca/p...ent-star-news/
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Old 04-19-20, 06:10 PM
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This web site may have some catalogue pictures which could twig your memory of your bicycle.

It covers may brands of bicycle fittings and some listings go back near the time of your example.

For instance -

your bicycle appears to have a conventional leather seat with loops to mount a saddle bag. there was a Japanese company making saddles of this type at this time under the brand names YFC and Belt. if you browse their catalogue you may find an illustration which twigs your memory...

The catalogs of Japanese vintage bicycle

another producer of similar saddles was Takahasi whose brand name was Speedic:

The catalogs of Japanese vintage bicycle [scroll down]

since the bike was a tenspeed it would have had derailleur gears. one maker of these which disappeared by the end of the decade was Sankosha. here is a listing for their products:

The catalogs of Japanese vintage bicycle

here is the web site's homepage showing all of the catalogue listings -

The catalogs of Japanese vintage bicycle

happy exploring!

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Old 04-20-20, 01:24 PM
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Thanks much for the great info! I actually stumbled the “The Catalogs Of Vintage Japanese Bicycle” site a couple of days ago, after looking on the internet about the Japanese manufacturers mentioned in some other replies to my post. I really am happy to have found this site, and will be perusing it in detail.

I also went to the original Japanese site, and there was the fellow’s email address! So I emailed him my question – and a translation to Japanese thanks to Google Translate – and will see if I get a response.

Again, I’m not expecting a miracle, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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Old 04-20-20, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pcw_dg View Post
I put the photo in imgur, and here is the link, if anyone is interested.
imgur.com/gallery/BywOLqa

Thanks much
Here is a link to an image of a 1960 brochure for Mitzutani from a reputable site called "Disraeli Gears," which has a lot of cycling arcana. It may not be an exact match, but the half-grips on the handlebars and the full length cable housing along the top tube look similar.

Mizutani - leaflet 1960?


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Old 04-20-20, 01:56 PM
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I usually look over this site for info specific to derailleurs, but there are a lot of documents pertaining to early 60's Japanese bikes:

Documents from Japan
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Old 04-20-20, 01:57 PM
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I sure appreciate all the replies and help I’ve gotten from my post. I now will be reading thoroughly the “The Catalogs Of Vintage Japanese Bicycle” site, and see if I get a response to an email I sent to the site’s owner. And "Disraeli Gears" also! I actually am a bit more hopeful now, with the help I’ve gotten. Thanks all.

And to finish up, here is another screenshot from the film, a few seconds later, again using Imgur. This shows a more full view of the bike, but only from the rear.
imgur.com/gallery/nWxi7F8

This one also has my great-grandmother in it, and the ’57 Chevy Belair station wagon my folks had. Treasured images, treasured memories.

Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They're all that's left you


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Old 04-20-20, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
LOL!! Really? all we have to go on is the color and a Japanese badge? I?s this for real? if you could tell the badge was Japanese than why don't you know the brand name of the bike since it was on the badge? LOL!!! I would say it was a Mickey Mouse parade bike, how's that
Not cool!
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Old 04-20-20, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pcw_dg View Post
I'm posting this at the suggestion of my son. It will be an impossible mission, but I would dearly love to determine the manufacturer of a 10-speed I got when I was 8 years old, in 1960. My grandfather won it as a prize at the newspaper where he worked, and gave it to me.

I couldn't reach the pedals at first, but I used it all through the 60s, during high-school and college. I even used it to ride from San Francisco to LA in 1973. It was stolen in '77 or '78.

I never thought to write down the manufacturer. I didn't even take a photo of it. Kicking myself.

But the other day, I was looking at an old family home movie, and by golly, there it was in a very short segment! See below if you'd like to see a screenshot of my mom with the bike. Unfortunately in the home movie, this view and one from the rear all there is.

The bike was gold, had a Japanese badge and components, and a nifty bag attached to the rear bike rack. It came with white plastic fenders, and had white brake and shift cables. The handlebars were wrapped with white tape.

I realize it's foolish to be asking about this when I have so little information about the bike. But I'm sure happy I ran across this movie segment!

I got on this forum specifically to ask this question. But it won't let me post! Says something about needing 10 posts before it'll put in a URL.

I put the photo in imgur, and here is the link, if anyone is interested.
imgur.com/gallery/BywOLqa

Thanks much
Thank you for sharing the photo and the memories. A lot of us are here for nostalgia and the love for things vintage. Your reason seems to be greater than most peoples reason. Just for memories and honoring your mom, why not build a bike exactly as you remember. Even if it isn't the same manufacturer, Bet mom would appreciate it. Bet you would relive memories riding it. Cheers!! GO MOM!!!!!!
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