Thursday, October 11, 2012

Japanese Tin Toy Vehicles, Part 3

The Haji three-wheeled penny toy. This 3" long car is
carefully designed to disguise the fact that there's only
one wheel in the front.
I've been spending the last few months researching the subject of postwar Japanese tin toy vehicles for a talk my father volunteered me for. I've documented some of my research adventures in the Collecting -- and Collecting Information series.

I gave my presentation before the Capital Miniature Auto Collectors Club. The talk provided a background for the toys, made between 1949 and 1963, along with examples from my surviving childhood toys. Also on display was the Straco Express layout, which showcased smaller Japanese toy cars from the period.

Part 1 features the final version of the talk in written form, subsequent parts include galleries of the toys actually discussed.

Another look at the Haji
vehicle showing its
missing wheel secret.
Haji Toys

Haji was another toy company that flourished in this period. They had an extensive line of mechanical and clockwork toys. Haji made a series of 8-inch Fords that are particularly desirable. I have some of their penny toys on the Straco display layout, including a three-wheeled sedan. (click on images to enlarge)

Masudaya Old-Fashioned Car. Part of a series of vehicles using
the level-wound spring drive. Mine was purchased in the
gift shop of the Luray Caverns Antique Car
Museum in the early 1960's.

Masudaya (Modern Toys)
Masudaya was founded in 1923, and is still in business today. The lever-action spring mechanism of the example I own was one that they used for several different toys during this period. Some of the Straco display layout toys are Modern Toys. Masudaya was one of the few companies to use logos on their toys – an M and T combined. It can be easily seen both on the clockwork car, and the smaller penny toys on the layout.

Part 1: The Golden Age of Japanese Tin Toy Vehicles 1949-1963

Part 2: Bandai

Part 4:  Cragstan and Shioji

Part 5: Line Mar and Marx
Part 6: Nomura and others (Marusan, Yonezawa, Alps, Ichico, ATC)


  1. Anonymous11:54 PM

    I have a few myself, can I download a picture of them?

    1. Sure. I took those pictures myself, and I'm happy to share. Thanks for asking!