Matsushima

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Matsushima was a Japanese camera store active in the 1950s, which notably distributed the Orion and Miranda products.

Contents

History

The Matsushima camera store was founded in 1947 by Mikami Makoto (三神誠), who previously worked for Ishii Shōkai from 1937 before he was mobilized.[1] The store started as the photographic department (写真部) of Matsushima Megane-ten (松島眼鏡店, meaning Matsushima Glasses Shop), using a corner of the eyeglasses store.[1] It was situated in Ginza, Tokyo,[2] next to Hattori Tokei-ten.[1]

At some time, Mikami met Ogihara Akira (荻原彰), founder of Orion Seiki, who was presented by their common acquaintance Nukui Teikichi (貫井提吉).[1] He was favourably impressed by the Orion products and decided to distribute them[1] at least as early as 1953;[3] these included the Mirax reflex housing, Focabell bellows and Supreme lenses, as well as the Coupler and other adapters.[4]

Some time later, Ogihara, who was seeking capital to develop his Miranda T SLR project, approached Mikami with the blueprints.[5] Mikami decided to support the project, and provided funds to Orion Seiki, which became Orion Camera in 1955;[5] Matsushima thus became the first distributor of the Miranda T.

At some point between 1955 and 1958, the company became Matsushima Shashin-yōhin K.K. (松島写真用品㈱, meaning Matsushima Photo Supply Co., Ltd.).[6] In addition to the Orion and Miranda products, it was also selling various accessories under other brands, such as Unik c.1955[7][8] and Macott c.1958.[9][10] Matsushima also offered to repair or improve all sorts of photographic products, for example to transform cameras and lenses from chrome to black finish, to add flash synchronization, and to make lens barrels or adapters for special needs.[9][10]

Matsushima gradually became less involved in the distribution of Miranda products.[11] By 1959, the cooperation had completely ceased and Miranda briefly entered distribution agreements with Ricoh before pulling back from the Japanese market. Matsushima ceased the camera retail business around the same time, and specialized in the design and manufacture of optical products for special needs, notably for TV cameras.[5]

Unik accessories

  • Prismo pivoting brilliant finder, slipped in the camera's accessory shoe (c.1955, ¥2,800)[7][8]
  • Snap band, a hand strap attached in the tripod thread[7][8]
  • Macopy stand (c.1958, ¥6,800)[9][10]
  • Macott products[9][10]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Hagiya, p.10 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.64.
  2. The exact address was Tōkyō-to Chūō-ku Ginza 3–2 (東京都中央区銀座3–2). Source: advertisements listed below, dated November 1953 to April 1958.
  3. The earliest advertisement by Matushima showing Orion products found so far is in Asahi Camera November 1953, p.59. Advertisements for Orion products were previously placed by Summit Shōkai.
  4. Advertisements listed below, dated November 1953 to July 1958.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Hagiya, p.11 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.64.
  6. The name Matsushima Megane-ten appears in the advertisement in Asahi Camera August 1955, p.206, and Matsushima Shashin-yōhin K.K. in the advertisement in Shashin Kōgyō April 1958 (p.317).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Advertisement in the June 1955 special issue of Photo Art, p.22.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Advertisement in Asahi Camera January 1955, p.229, February 1955, p.190, March 1955, p.180, April 1955, p.211, and August 1955, p.206.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Advertisement in Shashin Kōgyō April 1958, p.317.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Advertisements in Asahi Camera May 1958, p.221, and July 1958, p.213.
  11. The advertisement for Miranda cameras dated October 1955 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.200, was placed by Matsushima whereas those dated October 1957 and February 1959 reproduced on p.306 were placed by Miranda Camera itself. The last advertisement by Matsushima showing Miranda products known so far is that in Shashin Kōgyō April 1958 (p.317).

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