Japan's Bicycle Guide '56

Japan's Bicycle Guide '56 - front cover main image

It is very hard for non-Japanese speakers, like myself, to uncover the secrets of Japenase derailleurs from before 1970. But the annual 'Japan's Bicycle Guides' shine a brief glimmer of light on the subject. These thick tomes showcased Japan's bicycle and bicycle component industry, and were, mercifully, written in English.

This, pleasantly moth-eaten, 1956 edition includes a few rather furry pictures of derailleur-equipped bikes, a tiny section actually devoted to derailleurs (including one SunTour and one Shimano and nothing else) and a small selection of quite interesting adverts.

A couple of highlights are:

  • The Shimano advert on page 268 depicts a Shimano derailleur that I have never seen anywhere else. It also boasts that Shimano have the capacity to manufacture 150,000 freewheels a month, but only 5,000 derailleur sets.
  • There is an advert for SY brand freewheels on page 254. This is the only advert for this brand that I have ever seen. It gives the manufacturer's name as Yamashita Iron Works Ltd. and the address as Sakai in Osaka Prefecture

Browse associated derailleurs.

SunTour 8.8.8. Wide derailleur (2nd style) thumbnail