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The Kaitenkei (回転計, meaning "revolution counter") is a Japanese spy camera made by Tōkyō Kōgaku in the late 1930s.

The camera was reportedly developed in 1937, on request from the Army Science Institute.[1] It is said that it was inspired by a contemporary German spy camera,[2] but the Kaitenkei resulted more expensive,[3] and only a few were made for that reason.[4]

The Kaitenkei is shaped as a matchbox, 32.5×24×15mm in size.[5] It reportedly takes ten exposures on 8mm cine film, has a 13.9mm f/2.8 lens and a guillotine shutter with a single speed setting (1/50).[6]

At least one Japanese matchbox camera is known to exist today; it is not known if it was related to the Kaitenkei.


  1. Baird, p.71; Antonetto and Russo, p.23.
  2. Antonetto and Russo, p.195.
  3. Baird, p.71; Antonetto and Russo, p.23.
  4. Baird, p.71. Antonetto and Russo, p.23, say that the camera was not accepted by the Army.
  5. Baird, p.71.
  6. Baird, p.71; Antonetto and Russo, p.23.


  • Antonetto, M. and Russo, C. Topcon Story. Lugano: Nassa Watch Gallery, 1997. ISBN 88-87161-00-3. Pp.23 and 195.
  • Baird, John R. The Japanese Camera. Yakima, WA: Historical Camera Publications, 1990. ISBN 1-879561-02-6. P.71.