Misuzu Kōgaku

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Misuzu Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. (三鈴光学工業㈱)[1] was a Japanese company based in Azusawa, Tokyo, in the 1950s.[2]


The company was founded by Mr. Suzuki (鈴木正一)[3] at an unknown date. Misuzu Kōgaku hired Arae Taikichi (荒江泰吉),[4] designer of the Altair SLR prototype announced in early 1955 by Arae Kōgaku, certainly after he abandoned that ambitious project. Before entering the company, Arae was making the Altair bright screens on his own account — these were originally designed by his friend Kurebayashi Juichi (樽林寿一). Prior to that, he worked on binoculars at Tōkyō Kōgaku.[4]

The production of the bright screens was taken over by Misuzu, under the same Altair brand name,[5] and Arae presumably developed Misuzu's Altax binocular line.[6]

In September 1957, Misuzu Kōgaku released the Alta, a Leica copy. This camera was produced by the former manager of the Reise factory, maker of the Chiyotax, who entered Misuzu with a team of workers, certainly after he lost financial backing from the distributor Chiyoda Shōkai.[4]

The Alta camera was an evolution of the Chiyotax IIIF, and was already viewed as backward when it was released.[7] It was not a commercial success, and was abandoned in mid-1958. After that date, the company prospered for some time by producing bright screens for 35mm SLR cameras, evolved from the original Altair screens for TLR cameras.[4] Its final fate is unknown.

At least one source suggests a connection between Misuzu Kōgaku Kōgyō and Misuzu Shōkai.[8] This is wrong, and the Japanese characters used in the two names are completely different (Misuzu is 美篶 for the trading company and 三鈴 for the camera maker).

Product list


  1. Full name: advertisement in Nihon Camera June 1958, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.222.
  2. Its address was Tōkyō-to Itabashi-ku Azusawa 1–35 (東京都板橋区小豆沢1の35). Source: column in Asahi Camera September 1957, reproduced in Awano, p.3 of Camera Collectors' News no.38, and advertisement in Nihon Camera June 1958, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.222.
  3. Hagiya, reproduced in Mabuchi. The first name can read Shōichi, Masaichi or Masakazu.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Hagiya, reproduced in Mabuchi.
  5. Altair bright screens by Misuzu Kōgaku are mentioned in the column announcing the Alta in Asahi Camera September 1957 (ライトスクリーン[フレネルレンズ]"アルタイル"のメーカーである、東京の三鈴光学工業), and in an advertisement in Nihon Camera June 1958 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.222.
  6. Altax binoculars by Misuzu Kōgaku are mentioned in an advertisement in Nihon Camera June 1958 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.222.
  7. See Alta.
  8. HPR, pp.126 and 175–6, says that Reise was hired by the trading company Misuzu Shōkai and turned its name to Misuzu Kōgaku Kōgyō for that reason.
  9. Advertisement in Nihon Camera June 1958 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.222.


  • 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.
  • Awano Mikio (粟野幹男). "Aruta 35" (アルタ35, Alta 35). In Camera Collectors' News no.38 (August 1980). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha.
  • HPR. Leica Copies. London: Classic Collection Publications, 1994. ISBN 1-874485-05-4.
  • Mabuchi, Sam. "In search of the missing Altair camera". In The PHSC E-mail, vol.6–10, supplement to Photographic Canadiana, Feb. 2007, pp.4–5. Also published in Camera Shopper no.173, Mar. 2007, pp.11–2. (This article contains a partial reproduction of an article by Hagiya Takeshi [萩谷剛] in an unspecified issue of Kurashikku Kamera Senka.)