Seki & Sakai

Courtesy of Willem JJ Boot

Seki is supposed to have started around 1935. Toy train manufacturing ceased at the end of 1938 when all industrial activity in Japan was forced to turn to war efforts. The Seki brand, as far as we know now, did not return after the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in August 1945. Shortly after that, Sakai came on the market, a company obviously closely related to Seki, as they applied toolings and/or dies, previously used by Seki.

I have the impression - but no more than that - Sakai used the toolings of the cheaper range Seki made, especially those for the 8-wheeled passenger coaches, of which many British liveries are known, as those coaches have been exported to Britain and The Netherlands in the late thirties. Those came under the brand names Stronlite, Bryant and Oxil.

When Sakai started production is not exactly known thus far. 0-gauge production ceased early fifties and Sakai turned to HO gauge in that period. Known are HO copies of Fleischmann engines and goods stock. It might be, Sakai maintained direct relations with Fleischmann, but the German factory apparently seems not to know of that relationship.

Seki and Sakai are not the same factory nor brand. Both names are spelled in different Japanese characters.

Seki's trains were of original construction and of very high quality.

Sakai turned out to be more or less a copier of Marx trains, of which production line the "Standard" "301 Hudson& Pacific" or "Hutton & Pacific" sets are relatively common.

We are still trying to obtain more reliable information on the matter.