Antique Gas Engine Collecting in Japan

Collecting bug is on the rise in Japan

| July/August 2004

I have heard gas engines were imported to Japan as early as 1900, and some were made in Japan at this same time. Unfortunately, a clear record of these early engines has not been preserved.

Beginning around 1912, small kerosene engines were imported to Japan from Europe and the U.S. It appears many engines were imported between 1912 and 1935, and domestically many small kerosene engines were produced between 1919 and 1955. I am trying to piece together a record of engine production in Japan prior to 1955.

After 1955, most of the small manufacturing companies went out of business, leaving only the large companies. The large companies bare no resemblance to the small companies of the past.

Many Japanese engines were exported to China, the Korean Peninsula, the Philippines, Thailand, Peru and Brazil. Some have even been discovered in Thailand, Belgium and the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.

I am trying to preserve many types of kerosene engines discovered that were imported from Europe and the U.S. The number of collectors has been growing in Japan, and more engines are being found and preserved. Several times a year, we have engine meets featuring running engines, and this is a clear indicator of the growing popularity of engine collecting in Japan.

Contact engine enthusiast Yasunoba Morishita at: 206-11 Nishino Noichi-cho, Kami-Gun, Kochi-Gen, 781-5232, Japan (


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