Konan is a Japanese company, which developed various camera projects taken over by other manufacturers.
|Nishimura Gakan. (Image rights).|
The company received financial support from Hanaya Kanbei (ハナヤ勘兵衛) 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. The patents were sold to Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō (maker of the Minolta cameras), 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, 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. 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 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).
- Mica Automat
- Konan-16 Automat, serial produced by Chiyoda (Minolta)
- CM-16, rumoured to have been made by Konan on specifications by Chiyoda (Minolta)
- Yashica Future 127, partly studied at Konan
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.
- Konan-Rapid and S-Konan-Rapid, on the Semi Minolta III, Minoltaflex II and IIB
- Konan-Flicker, on the Semi Minolta P
- Kubota Seiichirō (久保田盛一郎). "Nishimura Gakan shi to Mika Ōtomatto" (西村雅貫氏とミカオートマット, Nishimura Gakan and the Mica Automat). In Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.53, December 1999. ISBN 4-257-13026-1. Tokushū: 50-nin no korekutā ni kiku watakushi no ichi-dai (特集:50人のコレクターに聞く私の1題, 50 stories told by camera collectors). Pp.32–3. The author personally knew Nishimura and his wife.
- Saeki Kakugorō (佐伯恪五郎). "Tashima Gizō-shi ni kiku" (田嶋義三氏に聞く, "Asking Tashima Gizō"). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.12, October 1988. No ISBN number. Minoruta kamera no subete (ミノルタカメラのすべて, special issue on Minolta). Pp.76–9.
- Shirai Tatsuo (白井達男). "Yashika Fyūchā 127" (ヤシカ・フューチャー127, Yashica Future 127). Pp.57–66 of Maboroshi no kamera o otte (幻のカメラを追って, Pursuing phantom cameras). Gendai Kamera Shinsho (現代カメラ新書). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1982. ISBN 4-257-08077-9. (First published in Kamera Rebyū / Camera Review. no.7, May 1979.) On the relation between Kōnan and Yashica.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5.