Arae Kōgaku (荒江光学, meaning Arae Optical) was a Japanese company based in Tokyo in the mid-1950s,[1] founded by Arae Taikichi (荒江泰吉).[2][3]

Before World War II, the founder Arae Taikichi was working for Tōkyō Kōgaku, where he was making binoculars.[2][3] Then he was mobilized and sent as a soldier to Southern China, where he worked at repairing optical ordnance.[3] After the end of the war, he set up an independent camera repair business,[3] and began to produce optical products such as the Altair Fresnel screen for TLR cameras, designed by his friend Kurebayashi Juichi (樽林寿一).[4] This small business was perhaps already called Arae Kōgaku at the time. In parallel,[2] Arae Taikichi developed a 35mm SLR camera, also called Altair, with a set of lenses designed by Kurebayashi.[5] The camera was announced by Arae Kōgaku in February 1955,[5] but never reached the market.

After the Altair project was halted, Arae entered Misuzu Kōgaku, which took over the production of the Altair bright screen, and stayed in that company for two years.[2] In 1961, Arae founded a new company called Y.K. Arae Kōgaku Kōbō (有限会社荒江光学工房, meaning Arae Optical Workshop), making and importing contact lenses.[6] This company became K.K. Arae Kōgaku (㈱荒江光学) in 1992, then K.K. Aire (㈱アイレ) in 2007.[6] It still exists (as of 2010) and makes contact lenses.


  1. Its exact address was Itabashi-ku Shimura Shimizu-chō 303 (東京都板橋区志村清水町303). Source: column in Asahi Camera February 1955, p.182.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Hagiya, reproduced in Mabuchi.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Page on the Altair in the official website of Aire Inc.
  4. Hagiya, reproduced in Mabuchi. Kurebayashi Juichi is mentioned as a good friend of Arae Taikichi in Asahi Camera, February 1955.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Column in Asahi Camera February 1955, p.182.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Chronology in the official website of Aire Inc.


  • Asahi Camera February 1955. "Shinseihin memo" (新製品メモ, New products memo). P.182.
  • 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.)


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