Kenzo Tada

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Kenzo Tada
BornFebruary 17, 1889
OccupationVelocette importer
Known forfirst Asian Isle of Man TT racer

Kenzo Tada (February 17, 1889 – 1976) was a dirt track motorcycle racer who was born in Japan and became the first Asian to compete in the Isle of Man TT. He started his career in 1907 as a bicycle racer; his company Tomeye Trading Co. was the Velocette motorcycle importer in Tokyo. He started racing motorcycles in 1921, at which time there were only 20 racers in Japan, and he became a leading organizer of motorsport events in Japan.

During the Taishō era, there had been a rapid growth of the motorcycling industry and racing in Japan. Races, sponsored by the national newspapers and intended to boost enthusiasm for Japan's rapidly developing industry, attracted crowds of up to 50,000. Inspired by the British motorcycle magazines he read, Tada learned about the demanding Isle of Man TT and in 1930 traveled for 40 days to Europe, by sea and rail, to complete in the 1930 Isle of Man TT event. He was the first Japanese overseas racer.[1]

Tada was invited to race by Veloce to prove the global popularity of their models, and he rode Alec Bennett's semi-works 350cc Velocette KTT bike,[2] finishing 15th and gained the nickname 'the India Rubber Man' as he had a number of minor falls during the course of the race but remounted to carry on.



  1. ^ Japan's Motorcycle Wars: An Industry History. Jeffrey W. Alexander. UBC Press, 31 Jan 2009
  2. ^ Walker, Mick (2002). Mick Walker's Japanese Grand Prix Racing Motorcycles. Tyne & Wear: Redline Books. ISBN 978-0-9531311-8-1.