Breeding for a soft pericarp in medium-sized tomato fruit was conducted by crossing the male sterile mutant (T-4) of the large-fruited 'First' and a small-fruited pure line with a soft pericarp (S). Pericarp characteristics of the F(1) hybrid (named MS-II) were compared with the parents and two similar medium-fruited tomato cultivars, 'Red ore' and 'Frutica'. Pericarp firmness in MS-II was lower as compared with that of both T-4 and S. Differences in pericarp firmness among MS-II, 'Red ore' and 'Frutica' were dependent on truss. In the first truss, MS-II developed fruits with a softer pericarp than 'Red ore', but with a firmer pericarp than 'Frutica'. In the second and third trusses, pericarp firmness of the fruit in MS-II tended to be lower than those of the other two cultivars. The thickness of the exocarp cuticle in MS-II was lower than that in 'Red ore', but was no different to that in 'Frutica'. Thus genotypic differences in pericarp firmness among MS-II, 'Red ore' and 'Frutica' seem to be derived from differences in the degree of cutin development in the epidermal perimeter. A thinner cuticle can explain pericarp softness in the fruits above the second truss in MS-II.