Fukada

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G.K. Fukada Shōkai (㈾深田商会, meaning Fukada Trading Company) was a Japanese sales company in the 1930s and early 1940s, based in Osaka.[1]

Contents

Prince brand

Fukada Shōkai distributed various cameras called "Prince" and it was certainly the owner of that brand name, at least before 1945. It used the name "Prince Camera Works" (プリンスカメラウアークス, Purinsu Kamera Uākusu) in original advertisements and on some products,[2] either in its full form or through a P.C.W. logo. It seems that this does not refer to any actual company, but was a mere dummy name, used for advertising purpose or to hide the real maker's name. This practice was not uncommon among Japanese distributors at the time (see the discussion at Camera Works).

The actual manufacturer of the prewar and wartime Prince cameras is known for sure only for some models. It is well established that the Semi Prince was made by Fujimoto Shashinki Seisakusho from 1934.[3] The Prince Flex was developed in 1937 by Neumann & Heilemann, and its production was soon taken over by Fujimoto (see Prince Flex). On that basis, some sources attribute to Fujimoto all the other cameras named Prince and associated with Prince Camera Works, an attribution which is currently unconfirmed.[4]

List of Prince cameras:

Other:

  • Prince auxiliary rangefinder, engraved PRINCE CAMERA WORKS, sold ¥11 in 1936 and ¥12.50 in 1938–9[5]

After the war, the company Mima Shōkai, a distributor based in Osaka too, re-used the trademarks "Prince" and "Prince Camera Works" and the associated PCW logo for the Princeflex and Prince Junior TLR, sold from 1953 to 1956. This Mima company was perhaps a successor of Fukada.

Doris brand

Before 1945 Fukada Shōkai certainly owned the brand name Doris too, and distributed the Doris (3×4) and Baby Doris cameras.[6] At least the Doris was advertised in a context associating it with the Prince cameras (it is called the "sister of the Semi Prince": セミプリンスの姉妹品).[7] This is perhaps why some sources mistakenly attribute these cameras to "Prince Camera Works".[8] The actual maker of these cameras is not known for sure: see the discussion in the corresponding pages.

Other distributed cameras

Imported products

Fukada Shōkai was an importer of the Ensign movie cameras in the early 1930s, together with Photo News Sha.[12]

Other products

  • Exact (エキザクト) tripod[13]

Notes

  1. The address was Ōsaka-shi Higashi-ku Kita-Kyūtarō-machi 2 (大阪市東区北久太郎町二丁目) in 1932. In 1937, it was Ōsaka-shi Sakai-suji Minami-honmachi 2–45 (大阪市界筋南本町二ノ四五), and it had become Ōsaka-shi Higashi-ku Minami-honmachi 2–45 (大阪市東区南本町二ノ四五) in 1943, certainly because of an administrative change. The company also used a postal box in 1939 and 1940: Ōsaka Chūō-kyoku Shishobako 204 (大阪中央局私書函204號). Source: advertisement in Asahi Camera June 1932, p.A8, and advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.60, 80 and 91.
  2. For example the Prince accessory rangefinder.
  3. Attribution to Fujimoto: company history of the Fujimoto official website; Tanimura, p.50 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.11, based on an interview of Takahashi Kenzō, former CEO of Fujimoto; Lewis, p.53; Supuringu kamera de ikou, pp.78–80; Sugiyama, items 1228–32; McKeown, pp.331–2.
  4. For example Sugiyama, items 1227 and 1233, and McKeown, p.331–2.
  5. Engraving: example observed in an online auction. Prices: advertisement in the winter 1936 supplement to Asahi Camera, seen in an online auction, advertisements in Asahi Camera February and July 1938 reproduced in Awano, p.10 of Camera Collectors' News no.114, and advertisement in Asahi Camera October 1939 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.91.
  6. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.60, 80 and 91.
  7. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.80.
  8. McKeown, p.803; Sugiyama, items 1038–9.
  9. Advertisement reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.91.
  10. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.80.
  11. Advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.60 and 80.
  12. Advertisement in Asahi Camera June 1932, p.A8.
  13. Advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1941, p.633.

Bibliography

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