Konan

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Konan is a Japanese company, which developed various camera projects taken over by other manufacturers.

Contents

History

Kōnan Camera Kenkyūjo (甲南カメラ研究所, Konan Camera Laboratory) was founded in 1947[1] by Nishimura Gakan (西村雅貫) and his associate Tanaka Harumi (田中晴美).[2]

The company received financial support from Hanaya Kanbei (ハナヤ勘兵衛)[3][4] to develop the Mica Automat, a subminiature camera for 16mm film cartridges. The camera was a commercial failure, and Hanaya's capital soon dried out.[3] The patents were sold to Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō (maker of the Minolta cameras),[3] and an evolved version of the camera was manufactured by that company as the Konan-16 Automat, released in 1950.

The company was incorporated as K.K. Kōnan Camera Kenkyūjo (㈱甲南カメラ研究所) in 1951,[1] certainly as a consequence of the agreements with Chiyoda. The Konan-16 later evolved as the Minolta 16, and gave birth to a long line of 16mm Minolta cameras.

It is likely that the Konan shutters found on various Minolta cameras were related to the company too. Those appear on the Semi Minolta III at a very early period, near the foundation of Kōnan Camera Kenkyūjo, perhaps indicating that cooperation with Chiyoda began long before the release of the Konan-16.

In the late 1950s, Kōnan cooperated with Yashica, and some young engineers were detached from the latter company to work under the supervision of Nishimura.[5] In 1958–59, the internals of the Yashica Future 127 auto-exposure prototype were designed by Takahama Sachi (高浜祥), one of Kōnan's engineers, whereas the body was drawn by Someha Keiichi (染葉桂一), one of the Yashica engineers detached to Kōnan.

The company also claims to have developed the Single-8 movie film cartridge in 1959.[1] (It would be introduced by Fuji in 1965.)[6]

The company later concentrated on industrial, scientific or medical applications. It changed its name to K.K. Kōnan (㈱コーナン) in 1992, and merged within its trading department in 2001, becoming K.K. Kōnan Medical (㈱コーナン・メディカル). The company currently still exists under that name (2009).

Cameras

Shutters

Konan was certainly responsible for the shutters mounted on some postwar Minolta folding and TLR cameras, though no definitive proof has been found of this.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Konan history in English and in Japanese in the official website.
  2. Kubota, p.32 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.53.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Sugiyama, p.280.
  4. Tashima Gizō, interviewed by Saeki Kakugorō on p.78 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.12.
  5. Shirai, pp.61–2 of Maboroshi no kamera o otte.
  6. Wikipedia page about Single-8.

Bibliography

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