Hagimoto

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Hagimoto was a Japanese camera distributor in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Contents

History

Hagimoto Danji (萩本団治), father of the comedian Hagimoto Kinichi (萩本欽一) ,[1] founded a camera shop in 1945 in Ginza, Tokyo.[2] An advertisement was placed in the May 1946 issue of Ars Camera by Hagimoto Honten (萩本本店), a wholesale camera distributor based in Minami Inarichō, Tokyo, apparently with underground shops in the Ueno, Nihonbashi and Ginza subway stations.[3] It is unclear whether this corresponds to an early growth attempt, or to an unrelated company founded by another Hagimoto.

Hagimoto Danji's original shop expanded into a full-fledged distributor, and a plant was set up in Suwa.[4] The subminiature Dan 16 was briefly announced in mid 1947, and the Bolta-sized Dan 35 followed in early 1948. In 1948–9, the company name was either K.K. Hagimoto Shōkai (㈱萩本商会) or K.K. Hagimoto Shōten (㈱萩本商店),[5] and the cameras have an H DAN logo, presumably for Hagimoto Danji.

After the initial success of the Dan 35 I and II, the newer Dan 35 III and Dan 35 M did not sell that well. In October 1949, the Ginza shop was handed over to Fujimoto Katsumi (藤本克巳), one of Hagimoto's employees; it was renamed Katsumido (カツミ堂, Katsumi-dō) and still exists under that name (2008).[6]

The company led by Hagimoto Danji was reorganized as Dan Shashin-yōhin K.K. (ダン写真用品㈱), with an address in Ueno, Tokyo, as appears in advertisements dated late 1949 and early 1950 for the Dan 35 models.[7] It finally failed in 1950.[8] (The markings Dan Camera Works found on the Dan 35 III and on the Super Dan 35 probably do not correspond to the name of any actual company, as many other names ending in Camera Works.)

Evolutions of the Dan and Super Dan designs, called Minon 35 and Pax 35, were released by Yamato Kōki, certainly after 1950. Some sources attribute all the Dan cameras to Yamato, but no original source has yet been found to confirm this.[9] It is yet unclear if the dependent company of Hagimoto which manufactured the Dan cameras in Suwa was already called Yamato Kōki, or if the Yamato company took over the designs after the failure of Hagimoto.

Camera list

16mm film

Bolta film

Perforated 35mm film

  • Super Dan 35

Notes

  1. See this Wikipedia page to learn about Hagimoto Kinichi.
  2. History page of Katsumido.
  3. Advertisement in Ars Camera May 1946, p.3. The exact address of the wholesale branch was Tōkyō-to Shitaya-ku Minami Inarichō 25 (東京都下谷区南稲荷町二五).
  4. This page at Out of Focus quotes an interview of Hagimoto Danji's wife in a TV program, mentioning the plant in Suwa. Katsumido's history page has an interview of Fujimoto Katsumi, former manager of Hagimoto Kamera-ten, talking about the Dan 35.
  5. "K.K. Hagimoto Shōkai": advertisement on p.5 of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, April 20, 1948, reproduced on p.83 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku. "K.K. Hagimoto Shōten": advertisement in Ars Camera February 1949, p.28. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.354, attributes the Dan 16 (item 592) to "Hagimoto Shōten", certainly after an article in Kohga Gekkan July 1947.
  6. History page of Katsumido.
  7. Advertisements dated November 1949 and March 1950 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.147. The exact address is Ueno Minami-Inarichō 25 (上野南稲荷町二五).
  8. Failed in 1950: this page at Out of Focus, quoting an interview of Hagimoto Danji's wife in a TV program.
  9. Sugiyama, items 4196–9, Lewis, pp.60 and 63, Takesaki, p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.34. (The attribution of the Dan 35 II and IV to "Daiwa Koki" in Lewis, p.66, is certainly a translation mistake for Yamato Kōki: 大和光機.)

Bibliography

Links

In Japanese:

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