Mica Automat

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The Mica Automat (ミカオートマット) is a Japanese subminiature camera using 16mm film, made by Konan in the late 1940s.


The Mica Automat was developed just after World War II by Nishimura Gakan (西村雅貫), with financial support from Hanaya Kanbei (ハナヤ勘兵衛).[1][2] Nishimura was an engineer who worked during the war on spy cameras, disguised as cigarette packs or matchboxes.[3] Hanaya was a photographer who owned a camera shop with darkroom service before the war, and who wanted to produce a subminiature camera taking 16mm film.[1] The camera was manufactured by the Kōnan Kamera Kenkyūjo (Konan Camera Laboratory), which was founded by Nishimura in 1947,[4] with the funds provided by Hanaya.[1]

It is said that the camera was sold in limited quantities around 1947.[3] However the camera only appeared in the press in the new products column of the January 1949 issue of Kohga Gekkan, where it is attributed to Hanaya Kanbei, apparently with no mention of Nishimura and Kōnan.[5] The initial funds soon dried out, and Kōnan sought support from Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō (maker of the Minolta cameras), which bought the patents and arranged serial production as the Konan-16 Automat.[1] (Cooperation between Kōnan and Chiyoda possibly began early on, to develop the Kōnan-Rapid shutter of the Semi Minolta III.)


The Mica Automat is extremely similar to its successor the Konan-16 Automat.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Sugiyama, p.280.
  2. Tashima Gizō, interviewed by Saeki Kakugorō on p.78 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.12.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kubota, p.32 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.53.
  4. Konan history in English and in Japanese in the official website.
  5. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.367.



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In Japanese: