Kuwata

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K.K. Kuwata Shōkai (㈱桑田商会) was a Japanese distributor, based in Osaka[1] and founded at the beginning of the 20th century.[2]

In 1936, Kuwata released the Mulber (3×4) and Mulber Six cameras. Kuwata was certainly the owner of the "Mulber" brand, and the cameras were certainly made by third-party manufacturers. The name "Mulber Camera Works" appears on the shutter plate of the Mulber (3×4) camera and in original advertising documents,[3] but that was certainly a dummy name, as other names ending in Camera Works.

In 1939, Kuwata released the Semi Mulber, a rebadged version of the Semi Kinka made by Yamamoto Shashinki Kōsakusho; the same camera was also sold by Riken as the Adler B. In 1940, it started distributing the Seica, a 4×4cm camera made by an unknown manufacturer, that was previously distributed by Riken. This might indicate that the company was involved into commercial agreements with Riken.

The Kuwata company used "KKS" initials in the name of various products, or applied a KKS marking. The significance of these initials is unknown.

Kuwata Shōkai survived the war, and it was an authorized dealer of the Shinkoh Rabbit in 1953.

Contents

Cameras distributed

127 film

120 film

The Green, a rebadged version of the Gotex by Kigawa, has the exact same KKS logo as the Mulix; this might indicate that the camera was distributed by Kuwata.

Other products

  • KKS Anastigmat Mulber 21cm f/4.5 large format lens, diaphragm to f/32,[4] sold ¥125 in 1941[5]
  • Bimagon (ビマゴン) wide-angle attachment for Mulber, Tessar, Congo or Taiyo 21cm f/4.5 lenses, sold ¥35 or ¥45 in 1941[5]
  • Mulber accessory rangefinder, sold ¥15 in 1936[6]
  • Mulber filters[7]
  • Magnon enlarger, advertised in 1941[8]
  • Magnon Special 75/4.5 enlarging lens, advertised in 1940[9]
  • Mulber flash powder[10]
  • KKS darkroom chemicals[11]

Imports

In the early 1930s, Kuwata was the importer of Gevaert products. In 1938, it advertised the German Certo Dollina III, but it is not known if it was the importer or a mere retailer.

Notes

  1. Its address in 1936 and early 1937 was Ōsaka-shi Nishi-ku Shinmachi-dōri 1–2 (大阪市西区新町通一丁目二番地); from May 1937 it was Ōsaka-shi Nishi-ku Itachibori Minami-dōri 1–13 (大阪市西区立売堀南通一丁目十三番地). Source: advertisements in Asahi Camera April 1936 to September 1939.
  2. Lewis, pp.27–8.
  3. See Mulber (3×4).
  4. Example observed in an online auction.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Advertisements in Asahi Camera February 1941 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.77, and in Asahi Camera April 1941, p.512.
  6. Advertisements in Asahi Camera November 1936, p.A65, and December 1936, p.A61. That dated December is also reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.95.
  7. Advertisements in Asahi Camera June and September 1939, October 1940 and February 1941, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.77 and 95–6, advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1941, p.512, and advertisement on p.17 of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, December 15, 1939, reproduced on p.51 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
  8. Advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1941, p.512.
  9. Advertisement in Asahi Camera October 1940, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.95.
  10. Advertisements in Asahi Camera May 1937, p.A65, June 1937, p.A52, and July 1937, p.A54.
  11. Advertisements in Asahi Camera April 1939 and February 1941, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.77 and 95.

Bibliography

  • Asahi Camera. Advertisements by Kuwata Shōkai:
    • February 1930, p.A17;
    • April 1936, p.A26;
    • July 1936, p.A44;
    • August 1936, p.A48;
    • September 1936, p.A56;
    • October 1936, p.A63;
    • November 1936, p.A65;
    • December 1936, p.A61;
    • January 1937, p.A57;
    • February 1937, p.A52;
    • March 1937, p.A104;
    • April 1937, p.A108;
    • May 1937, p.A65;
    • June 1937, p.A52;
    • July 1937, p.A54;
    • August 1937, p.A53;
    • October 1937, p.A50;
    • November 1937, p.A50;
    • December 1937, p.A40;
    • January 1938, p.A44;
    • February 1938, p.A37;
    • March 1938, p.A44;
    • April 1938, p.A46;
    • May 1938, p.A44;
    • June 1938, p.A42;
    • September 1938, p.A36;
    • January 1939, p.A27;
    • April 1941, p.512.
  • Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7.
  • Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin (日本写真興業通信). Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku (百号ごと十回の記録, Ten records, every hundred issues). Tokyo: Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin Sha (日本写真興業通信社), 1967. No ISBN number. Advertisement on p.51, corresponding to p.17 of the December 15, 1939 issue.
  • Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), ISBN 0-935398-16-3 (hard).
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