Category talk:Japanese companies

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Time for a break-up?

There are lots of Japanese companies, and there promise to be plenty more, now that Rebollo fr and I are merrily creating stubs for Japanese distributors, etc. (Incidentally I don't think this is mere completism-fetishism; instead, it's a way to work out what the hell was going on in Japan -- what was related to what, who was related to whom -- in the thirties, forties and fifties.)

I think that Category:Japanese companies should be subcategorized as:

Though I think not:

What do others think?

As always, (a) it's less work to break up a growing category earlier rather than later; however, (b) recategorizing and then changing one's mind is a major waste of time (or worse). -- Hoary 04:19, 7 August 2006 (EDT)

That's a good idea. Maybe moving Category:Camera distributors to Category:Distributors is a good idea too. --Rebollo fr 04:57, 7 August 2006 (EDT)
Right then. I hope to make a start within the next 24 hours. -- Hoary 09:53, 7 August 2006 (EDT)
Notice the color switch in Category:Camera distributors to Category:Distributors. -- Hoary 05:47, 9 August 2006 (EDT)

Makers and distributors

On further reflection, I'd rather delay the start by 48 hours than make a misstart.

Please consider Vivitar: a corporation distributing photographic equipment. . . . Vivitar became a multinational manufacturing and marketing company with subsidiaries in Japan, West Germany, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland. Though never a camera manufacturer, it has sold cameras under its own label since 1975. It has also sold lenses under its own label. "Vivitar" products aren't sold in Japan (except used or in other freakish circumstances), so I wonder what the Japanese subsidiary does. Anyway, the article's categories include "Camera distributors" (NB not makers) and "Lens makers" (NB not distributors).

I really have no idea of how Vivitar works. Does its mysterious Japanese branch visit Canon, Sanyo, Casio et al., and say "We'll buy 20,000 of the Zoomacronic 4000V off you if you can do them not in black but in matte silver with a bright silver stripe and have them say 'Vivitar Gonzotron 8000X' "?

Lewis's book suggests that for at least some cameras it does not do this. At least for the cameras that the book bothers to mention, Vivitar had an original design and found a company to manufacture this for it.

Meanwhile, there's Nikkorex F: made by Mamiya for Nikon, also sold as Nikkor J and Sears SL II. Should we say that Mamiya is the maker and Nikon (like Sears) the distributor? But though there's a link to Mamiya, it's in the Nikon category, and I don't think that Nikon itself is in the distributors category.

I know about as little about the Nikkorex F as I know about Vivitar, but I think that Nikon designed it, rather than subcontracted the design as well to Mamiya (or any other company). Lewis doesn't mention Mamiya in connection with the Nikkorex.

I tentatively conclude that Vivitar's relationship to at least some "Vivitar" cameras is much like Nikon's relationship to the Nikkorex. And that it's much like the relationship between most "makers" and "their" products these days: the company is in Japan, perhaps producing the most expensive or most prestigious models, while the bulk of manufacture is done by other companies, perhaps in Japan, perhaps in Malaysia or somewhere else. Moreover, this isn't a new idea: few early 50s Japanese camera "makers" have really been investigated, but those investigations have turned up odd deals (consider Takane and its arrangements with Ofuna, Zunow and Aires).

Should we say that we're using "maker" to mean "designer"? I really don't know.... Hoary 17:58, 7 August 2006 (EDT)

That was certainly longwinded. I wonder what it was that I really wanted to say. Perhaps something like: "We shouldn't unthinkingly call some companies makers or distributors merely because other people do." -- Hoary 05:45, 9 August 2006 (EDT)

Category:Canon and all the rest

Putting aside the question of whether it's a distributor too, Canon is certainly a maker and should be so categorized. However, I'm certain that Category:Canon (covering individual cameras, lenses, etc. as it does) is not a maker. Ditto for Category:Nikon, Category:Bronica and the rest. If they need to go anywhere, I suppose they should be in Category:Japanese brands. Ideas? -- Hoary 05:51, 9 August 2006 (EDT)

I think I don't fully understand the point. I am not enchanted by Category:Japanese brands: it would be a near duplicate of Category:Japanese camera makers. Moreover it would be incomplete forever: for ex. we have no Lyra article, just a redirect. (OK, we can force a redirect to appear in a category, but that doesn't convince me much.)
I think that the loose structure with "Canon EOS" inside "Canon" inside "Japanese camera makers" is usable enough, even if it is not strictly logical.
Another possibility is to make Category:Canon (and the like) subcategories of Category:Japanese cameras (and the like). Of course remains the problem of the articles that are not strictly about a camera: lenses, QL and the like. --Rebollo fr 06:06, 9 August 2006 (EDT)

I too don't like Category:Japanese brands, etc. And yes, "Canon EOS" inside "Canon" inside "Japanese camera makers" is indeed usable. But I don't like it. Let me sleep on it. -- Hoary 06:11, 9 August 2006 (EDT)

This still seems screwed up to me. Meanwhile, Panasonic is neither a company nor a maker; it's merely a brand used by Matsushita. And I'm pretty sure I could say much the same thing about Horseman, though I don't have reference materials with me now.
Perhaps Canon, Category:Canon and Pigeon (but not Tōsei) could be in Category:Japanese brands, while Canon and Tōsei (but not Category:Canon or Pigeon) would be in Category:Japanese camera makers. -- Hoary 04:53, 11 August 2006 (EDT)