Zuihō

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Zuihō was a Japanese camera maker in the 1950s.

Contents

History

The Nice subminiature camera, probably made in the late 1940s, is attributed by McKeown to a company called "Zuiho Sokuryo Kiki K.K." or "Zuiho Optical & Measuring Instruments Co., Ltd."[1] (This is shortened to "Zuiho Optical" in some other sources.)[2] The actual Japanese name was perhaps Zuihō Sokuryō Kiki K.K. (瑞宝測量機器㈱) — this means "Zuihō Measuring Instruments Co., Ltd." and makes no mention of optics.

It is perhaps the same company that was later known as Zuihō Kōgaku Seiki K.K. (瑞宝光学精機㈱),[3] based in Kyōbashi, Tokyo,[4] making binoculars and measuring instruments, mainly for export.[5] From 1952, that company took over the production of the Tomy from Ars Seiki Kōgyō. The Tomy was a peculiar 4.5×6cm camera with Z-shaped folded light path, designed by Sakurai Minoru (桜井実) and made until 1953.

In 1956, Zuihō Kōgaku Seiki released the Honor S1, a Leica copy. At the beginning, Zuihō only appeared as the distributor of the camera, which was produced by the newly formed Mejiro Kōgaku Kōgyō, presented at the time as a "brother company".[6]

From autumn 1958, the documents mention Zuihō as the maker and distributor of the Honor, perhaps because it absorbed Mejiro. The company's final camera model was the Honor SL, an improved rangefinder camera released in 1959, which met limited success only.

The company was still active in 1964, certainly as a binocular maker; its CEO Yamada Shizuka (山田静) also presided an association promoting the export of Japanese binoculars (日本双眼鏡輸出振興事業協会).[7]

Camera list

Notes

  1. McKeown, p.1064.
  2. This page at Submin.com, and this page at Subclub.org.
  3. Written 瑞寳光学精機㈱ in old writing in some ads.
  4. The exact address was Tōkyō-to Chūō-ku Kyōbashi 3–7 (東京都中央区京橋3–7). Source: advertisements dated June 1953 to September 1958 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.151 and 225.
  5. Announce of the Honor in Asahi Camera July 1956, reproduced in Awano, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.37: ちなみに瑞宝光学は輸出用の双眼鏡、測量器具を製作しているところ ("by the way, Zuihō Kōgaku is producing binocular and measuring instruments for export").
  6. Announce of the Honor in Asahi Camera July 1956, reproduced in Awano, p.7 of Camera Collectors' News no.37: 製造元は東京の目白光学という新しい会社で、発売元の瑞宝光学精機[...]とは兄弟会社.
  7. Notes from a committee of the Japanese Diet, dated May 13, 1964.

Bibliography

Links

In Japanese:

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