The Sakura Army is known by a single illustration, found in an original advertisement and reproduced elsewhere. The camera is shaped as a box, and contains twelve plates in tefuda format (8×10.5cm). The camera has an external exposure counter, whose exact location is unknown. The details of the changing mechanism are unknown too, and no changing lever is visible under the top handle, unlike the other Konishi magazine cameras such as the Cherry, Champion and Sakura Navy. The front plate is almost square and has the lens near the top, surrounded by the two brilliant finders. Other controls are visible, certainly to set the speed and aperture, and a lens cap is attached to the main body by a cord.
The lens is of the Rapid Rectilinear type. The original advertisement observed so far mentions Time and Instant shutter settings only, but this is not incompatible with variable "Instant" speeds. One source reports T, B, 1–100 speeds, the same as on the Champion. The shutter mechanism was actually certainly inspired from that of the Patent Klito mounted on the Houghtons Klito models and giving T, 1–100 speeds. The shutter can be tripped by a button or by a pneumatic bulb, and the pneumatic pipe is visible on the front plate at the bottom right of the lens.
Brief commercial life
The Sakura Army was reportedly released in August 1907. It was priced at ¥35, and was thus the most expensive magazine camera sold by Konishi. It was no longer present in the December 1911 Konishi catalogue, unlike cheaper models such as the Cherry, Champion or Sakura Navy.
- The phrase tesage anbako (手提暗函) is rendered as "Hand Camera" in the Konishi catalogue dated December 1911. In modern sources, it is often translated as "Portable Camera" and the camera is sometimes called "Sakura Army Portable". The Japanese word anbako literally means "dark box"; it was modeled after "camera obscura" and was used for cameras until around the 1910s.
- Advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha. The same illustration is reproduced in Sakai, p.17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and in a larger size in this other page of the same website.
- Twelve plates in tefuda format: advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
- Advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha (撮影せる乾板の数は自動器に依り外面より見定められるる等手提カメラ).
- Advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha (鏡玉は迅速直線鏡玉を装し).
- Time and Instant: advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha (シャッターは定時及び瞬間用に供せられ).
- T, B, 1–100: Sakai, p.17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
- Tripped by a button or by a pneumatic bulb: advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
- Lewis, p.18, and chronology from the official company history Shashin to tomo ni hyaku-nen, reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10. The date is simply given as 1907 in Sakai, p.17 of the same magazine, and in the chronology at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
- Advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
- December 1911 catalogue of Konishi Honten.
- Konishi Honten. Saishin Shashin Kikai Mokuroku (最新写真器械目録, Latest catalogue of photographic apparatus). Published on December 18, 1911. Recent reprint. The Sakura Army does not appear in this document.
- 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), 0-935398-16-3 (hard). P.18.
- Sakai Shūichi (酒井修一). "Konica history 2. Meiji 36-nen – 40-nen." (Konica history 2. 明治36年–40年. From Meiji year 36 (1903) to Meiji year 40 (1907).). 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.10, September 1987. No ISBN number. Konishiroku kamera no rekishi (小西六カメラの歴史, special issue on Konishiroku). Pp.16–23.
- Tanaka Yoshirō (田中芳郎). "Meiji–Taishō jidai no Konishi Honten no kamera wo shiru tame no hon" (明治・大正時代の小西本店のカメラを知るための本, Books about the Konishi Honten cameras of the Meiji and Taishō eras). 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.10, September 1987. No ISBN number. Konishiroku kamera no rekishi (小西六カメラの歴史, special issue on Konishiroku). Pp.92–4.
- Pages of the R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha website:
|Konishiroku prewar and wartime cameras ( )|
|plate||hand cameras||stereo hand cameras||strut folders||box||telephoto||SLR|
|Idea (original) | Idea A | Idea B | Idea Snap | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Lily (original) | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Tropical Lily | Noble | Ohca | Sakura Palace | Sakura Pocket Prano | Sakura Prano||Idea Binocular | Sakura Binocular Prano||Minimum Idea | Idea Spring | Korok||Champion | Cherry | Sakura Army | Sakura Honor | Sakura Navy||Idea Telephoto||Idea Reflex (1910 and 1911) | Idea Reflex (1932) | Neat Reflex | Sakura Reflex Prano|
|rollfilm||folders||box or collapsible||TLR|
|Pearlette | Special Pearlette | B Pearlette | Pearl (for plates and rollfilm) | Pearl No.2 | Pearl (Year 8) | Baby Pearl | Semi Pearl | Sakura Palace||Record | Sakura (box) | Sakura (bakelite)||Sakura-flex|