The name "Kankyu" is perhaps related to the Japanese department store Kankyū Hyakkaten. The camera, dating from the late 1930s or early 1940s, was certainly made in Japan, and was certainly not a rebadged Zeiss Ikon: it would have been unwise for a Japanese company of the time to stick its own name on such a prestigious imported product.
Description of the body
The Kankyu is a vertical folder, with a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate and an advance key at the bottom right — as seen by a photographer holding the camera horizontally. The shutter release is to the left of the viewfinder and the folding bed release is to the right. The back is hinged to the left and the back latch consists of a long sliding bar. There are two red windows to control the film advance, protected by a horizontally sliding common cover. The name Kankyu is embossed in the front leather.
Only one surviving example of the Kankyu has been observed so far. It has a Prontor II shutter (175–1, B, T) and an Isco-Anastigmat 7.5cm f/4.5 by Schneider, engraved Schneider–Kreuznach and Jsco–Anast. 1:4,5 F=7,5cm with no visible serial number. A rather long linkage cam is visible between the body release mechanism and the shutter release itself.
- Example observed in a Japanese online auction.