K.K. Chiyoda Shōkai (㈱千代田商会) was a Japanese distributor in Ginza, Tokyo.[1]


The company was established in April 1946 by Yamashita Yūjirō (山下友治郎) and Hashimoto Tadamasa (橋本忠政), and succeeded to the company Yamashita Yūjirō Shōten, as was clearly stated in an advertisement in Ars Camera.[2] Yamashita Yūjirō probably left at some time to found another company, again called Yamashita Yūjirō Shōten, based in Ogawamachi and known to be active in February 1950.[3]

Chiyoda Shōkai advertised the Chiyoca Leica copy from 1954; its name was a contraction of Chiyota Camera. The actual manufacturer of the camera was the Reise company. The name of the camera became Chiyotax, certainly after a complaint by Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō, predecessor of Minolta. Chiyoda Shōkai was still distributing in late 1956 and certainly until Summer 1957.[4] All trace of the company is lost after that date.


The company name 千代田 is normally read "Chiyoda", but the name of the company has not been observed in Roman letters in any original document yet. Other companies called the same in Japanese are known to have used the Romanization "Chiyota" instead of "Chiyoda",[5] and this was perhaps the case of Chiyoda Shōkai. This is made plausible by the adoption of the brand "Chiyotax" on the Leica copy distributed by the company, with an intermediate "Chiyota" engraving found on at least one example (see Chiyoca and Chiyotax).

Distributed cameras[]

The Chiyoko 6×6 TLR with Seikosha-MX shutter attributed to Chiyoda Shōkai in some sources is clearly a misidentified Minolta model, presumably a Minolta Autocord.[7]

Cameras sold as authorized dealer[]


Chiyoda Shōkai was selling various accessories in the mid-1950s.

  • Reise TLR frame (c.1955, see Reise)
  • Pennar, mirror finder for TLR cameras, attached on top of the camera's viewing hood, and displaying a laterally reversed image at eye level, sold for ¥870 in 1955[9]


  1. The exact address in 1946 was Tōkyō-to Kyōbashi-ku Ginza 7–3 (東京都京橋区銀座七丁目三番地). Source: advertisement in Ars Camera April 1946, p.30. In 1955 it was Chūō-ku Ginza 7–3 (中央区銀座7の3) after a reorganization of the postal system. Source: advertisement in Camera Mainichi July 1954, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.148.
  2. Advertisement in Ars Camera April 1946, p.30.
  3. Advertisement dated February 1950 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.180.
  4. Advertisement in Shashin Salon November 1956 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.255. The same source mentions advertisements for the Chiyotax until July 1957 on p.390.
  5. See e.g. the current Chiyota Plastics Co., Ltd.
  6. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.347.
  7. Camera attributed to Chiyoda Shōkai in McKeown, p.206.
  8. Advertisement dated April 1956 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.205.
  9. October 1955 special issue of Photo Art, p.49.


  • Ars Camera Advertisement by Chiyoda Shōkai in April 1946 (p.30).
  • 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.
  • McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover).
  • Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera no chishiki (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラの知識, Photo Art special issue: Knowledge of cameras). October 1955, no.87 of the magazine. "Kakubu no kikō to sono sōsa. 14: Kamera ni toritsukeru akusesarī no chishiki. Benri na akusesarī." (各部の機構とその操作・14・カメラに取付けるアクセサリーの知識・便利なアクセサリー. Mechanism and operation of all the parts. 14: Knowledge of the accessories attached to the camera. Handy accessories.) P.49. (On the Pennar.)