Toy military motorcycle and side car, 1930 - 1940
Toy military motorcycle and sidecar, trade mark Modern Toys, metal, clockwork operated, made by Maysudaya, Tokyo, Japan, c.1935
This tin toy military motorcycle and sidecar was made in about 1935 by the Japanese manufacturer, Maysudaya, a firm which is perhaps better known by its trademark, Modern Toys.
Japanese tin toy manufacturers closely copied the famous German brands and this toy motorcycle has many features in common with those by the famous German maker Tipp & Co of Nuremberg. Although made in Japan before the Second World War, it has a German military look about it as the Wehrmacht made prolific use of heavy sidecar combinations. The tin printing on the sidecar represents riveted armour, while a special shield for the sidecar passenger was provided with an eye slot. Despite its German appearance, the markings on the sidecar show the British Union Jack and a roundel usually reserved for French aircraft. The toy displays an interesting and conflicting combination of design elements and was clearly destined for the Japanese pre-war export market.
The Masudaya firm, known as Modern Toys because of their "MT" trademark, are Japan's oldest toy manufacturing firm established in 1724 and in 2008 are still in production making toys. Over the years toys made by this firm have included aircraft, boats, cars, trucks, military vehicles, household appliances and space rockets. Manufacturing has been undertaken at the K.K. Masutoku toy factory in Tokyo, Japan. The material for the toys has changed over the years from tinplate to celluloid and, later plastic, many with battery-operated mechanisms.
Courtesy Powerhouse Museum