Tenshodo Passenger Cars

Shigeru Hatano and trains                         

This section discusses streamlined H0-Scale passenger cars produced by the Japanese firm Tenshodo and imported into the United States and into Canada under the PFM (Pacific Fast Mail) mark.  At first glance, things seem to be simple but, upon further examination, it gets a bit more complicated.


Founded in 1889 and located on Tokyo’s Ginza, Tenshodo had originally sold watches, clocks, jewelry and silverware, much of it produced by local craftsmen. After World War II, Tenshodo formed its “Model Section”, expanding into both model trains and other hobby items such as model airplanes and ships.

In so many ways, Tenshodo was devoted to whimsy. A statue of Cupid stands at one corner of the Tenshodo store, looking around the corner for someone to shoot his arrow at:

Although there had been models of trains built out of brass prior to WWII, they had often had been individual models or small production runs. More likely at that time was the brass locomotive kit, a group of brass parts which an individual modeler assembled themselves. The Tenshodo Model Section would change that.

In many ways, what model trains did come to North America from Tenshodo in the 1950’s were just the tip of the iceberg, with domestic production for the Japanese market being of greater importance. This is especially the case for the Tenshodo passenger cars.

Please see: Early Production

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