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160309-0012 - HMC Rear Car Motorcycle

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Kobe Showa 1930s Unknown

A man selling charcoal briquettes poses on a rear car delivery motorcycle in Kobe.

The motorcycle is a trike manufactured by the Hyogo Motors Company (HMC, 兵庫モータース). No driver’s license was needed for trikes below 750cc, making them extremely popular in Japan.

The photo is dated May 12, 1930 (Showa 5) and identifies the driver as Takeichi Masai (正井武市). As the company name is Masai Shoten (正井商店), he is most likely the boss or the son of the boss.

The big lettering on the cargo box advertises Union charcoal briquettes (聯合の豆炭, Rengo no mametan).

During the 1930s, the Kobe based Hyogo Motors Company was the leading manufacturer of cargo trikes (オート三輪, auto sanrin) in Kobe and Osaka.

Little is known about HMC because the factory and all its documents were destroyed during WWII US air raids.

Very few Japanese cargo trikes survived the war, making this photo an important historical document.

Kjeld Duits Collection
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