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2011年10月21日 (金)

Show Window on Wheels

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

In the early 1950's, before Japan became a motorized nation, the majority of the families had one bicycle "the family bicycle".  This was a family's prized possession that served as the only means of private transportation.  Dad used it for communting to work and children first learned to ride on "the famiy bicycle" as few household's could afford a child's bicycle.  Their feet too short to reach the pedals kids employed a technique know as  riding triangle style.

In order to mobilize the nation and obtain the goal of "One bicycle, for every household" many major manufacturers built sales shops on wheels.  In Japanese these were known as SENDEN-JIDOUSHA (宣伝自動車), literally translated it means campaign or advertising vehicles, but I think a better translation would be "show window on wheels".

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This fine example of a "show window on wheels" was made for the Mayam (Nittei) bicycle manufacturer based in Nagoya, well known for its very fine heavy-duty carrier bicycles.

Let's take a closer look.
The front portion consists of the crew members room, a broadcast room (for these vehicles were equipped with loudspeakers) and even an area for sitting down to discuss terms of purchase and payment.
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The middle section features large show windows on both sides with a different model displayed on each side.  The showroom was equipped with 10 fluorescent lights to attract people even at night, it was a show room on wheels that never slept. 
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The tail section served as the entrance and exit, the spacious platform facilitated easy boarding and deboarding as well as protection from the rain while waiting to enter the showroom. 
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Here we see an array of different sized show windows on wheels belonging to the Nozawa Bicycle company. Note the "Toyopet" (Toyota) on the grill, and, the Nozawa hood ornament on the smaller vehicle.

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Complete with loud speakers these show windows on wheels visually and audibly got the word out about their product..

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These show windows on wheels were around throughout the 1950's and faded out as Japan traded in the bicycle for the automobile.  Here we see a more modern version, possibly from the early 60's, belonging to the Kofu Bicycle Company.

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A photo of Kofu bicycle employees, behind them the campaign vehicle parked in front of a Kofu bicycle dealer.
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One can only imagine the raucous these show windows on wheels made with their load speakers. Note the size of the loud speaker in the photo below. The banner on the vehicle at the right reads "One bicycle for every household to last a lifetime".  This is from the Yamaguchi Bicycle Company.  The banner also boasts in large characters "In commemoration and appreciation for having reached monthly production of 20,000."

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I'm interested in obtaining more information or photos of these show windows on wheels, if anyone out there has any additional information kindly contact me at:  showajitensha@hotmail.co.jp

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