Following the end of World War II Japanese Government Railways was prohibited by GHQ from building new locomotives due to financial difficulties. However, an exception was granted for the E10s to replace the ageing JNR Class 4110 locomotives. This was because it was not possible to substitute existing locomotives on the steep gradients of the Ōu Main Line where the 4110s were used.
The boiler of the E10 was a special design based on the JNR Class D52 with the fire grate area reduced by 0.55m2.
Five locomotives were manufactured at the Kisha Seizo Kaisha (汽車製造会社?) Osaka factory in 1948. They were the last steam locomotives built for Japanese National Railways.
The last examples in regular service were withdrawn in 1962.