According to the Chinese zodiac, 2011 is the year of the rabbit. What better way to start off the new year than with a post on rabbits!
Last year I acquired an interesting fender ornament, quite a piece of art if you ask me.
I thought it might originally belong to the Rabbit bicycle, or Sun Rabbit bicycle both of which are related to the infamous Rabbit scooter produced by Fuji Heavy Industries. However, my research turned up an old bicycle parts advertisement dated SHOWA 33 (1958) that solved the origins of this mysterious fender ornament. Unfortunately, it did not belong to the Rabbit brand produced by Fuji Heavy Industries and was instead a no name replacement type unrelated to any specific brand or model.
A bit of a disappointment. Nonetheless the time spent researching this fender ornament was not in vain. In fact it strengthened my theory that although there are many reasons for Japan's industrial rise after WWII, surely one factor is that after WWII the Supreme Allied Commander prohibited Japan from pursuing aircraft research or manufacturing. This in turn led aircraft companies like Mitsubishi Company, maker of the infamous A6M3 Zero, and, Nakajima Aircraft Company, manufacturer of some of Japan's finest planes including the dreaded Ki-44 Shoki (Devil Queller) and the Ki-43 Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon), to diversify. In the case of Nakajima Aircraft Company, it was broken up, resulting in the birth of Fuji Heavy Industries (maker of present day Subaru automobiles). Thus, highly skilled aeronautical engineers and their workforce went from designing and building fighter planes to building high quallity bicycles and then scooters and automobiles.