Bikōdō (美光堂) was a Japanese distributor and manufacturer of cameras and leaf shutters, from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. It was related to the manufacturer Mori Seisakusho.
Prewar and wartime period
During World War II, the Bikōdō company was based in Sakamoto, Tokyo. In a government inquiry on Japanese camera production, it was mentioned as the maker of shutters called Compur and Rapid Compur, copies of the corresponding German models. These shutters were notably mounted on the Rollekonter 6×6 TLR by Mori. They have a round MB logo on the front plate; these initials might stand for Mori and Bikōdō. A similar logo also appears on the earlier Light shutter or its Rosen name variant, probably indicating a common origin.
It is said that the company suffered some damage from the aerial bombings at the end of World War II. It soon distributed the Bikor-Flex, another 6×6 TLR by Mori, revised version of the wartime Rollekonter; this was one of the first Japanese TLR cameras available on the market.
Bikōdō probably absorbed Mori Seisakusho c.1949. In late 1949, the company was known as Bikōdō Seisakusho (美光堂製作所, meaning Bikōdō Works) and released the Superflex 6×6 TLR, again based on the Rollekonter, continuation of Mori's camera line. In 1951, the company also announced the Tenar Six, a 6×6 folder with unusual characteristics. From 1951 to 1953, Bikōdō Seisakusho was based in Kami-Negishi, Tokyo. All trace of the company is lost after that date.
Distributed by Bikōdō
Made by Bikōdō Seisakusho
- Light and Rosen (several versions, attribution unconfirmed)
- Tokyo Compur or New Compur (T, B, 1–300), on the Rollekonter, Semi Konter and Semi Miss
- Rapid Compur (T, B, 1–500), on the Rollekonter
- Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343 (item 320), after a column in Asahi Camera September 1937.
- The exact address was Tōkyō-to Shitaya-ku Sakamoto 1–3–2 (東京都下谷区坂本1–3–2). Source: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras").
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter items 18-Q-4 and 18-R-9.
- Lewis, p.59.
- The exact address was Tōkyō-to Taitō-ku Kami-Negishi 60 (東京都台東区上根岸60). Source: advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.141–2 and 149.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7.
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7.
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P.59.