Doi (株式会社ドイ, Kabushiki Kaisha Doi) was a large Japanese retailer and distributor, best known outside Japan as the company that revived the Makina in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Doi in the 1940s and 1950s[]

Doi Shōten (土居商店) was already active from 1939 to 1942, as a retailer or distributor based in Osaka.[1] By 1939, it was already selling products under the Elega brand.[2] This perhaps means that Doi had bought the company Elega-sha, known to exist in 1938, or that Elega-sha was an earlier name for Doi Shōten. From 1939 to 1942, Doi also sold a number of cameras made by Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō.

After the war, it is said that the company was revived in 1949.[3] In 1951, Doi was distributing the Elegaflex and Elega (ヱレガ) items, from another Osaka address.[4]

By November 1952, it had changed its name to Nittō Shashin Yōhin K.K. (日東写真用品㈱), with the same Osaka address.[5] The new name means "Japan photographic goods". By April 1953, the company had moved its main office to Tokyo and opened a branch in Fukuoka.[6]

Under the new name, the company continued to distribute the Elega products, including the Elegaflex 6×6 TLR, the Elega-35 camera and the Elega enlarger.[7] It was also an authorized dealer of the Elbowflex, Elbow Six, Cosmo 35 and Tanack 35.

Some sources attribute the Elegaflex and Elega-35 to Nittō Shashin Yōhin, but it was probably not a manufacturer. Of the various addresses known for the company, the ones in Osaka and Fukuoka are of stores (営業所); the Tokyo address is much more likely that of a trading company than a manufacturer.

Doi after 1959[]

It seems that the Fukuoka branch became K.K. Doi (㈱ドイ) in 1959, under the direction of Doi Kimio (土居君雄), son of the Mr Doi of Doi Shōten.

In an advertisement dated 1983, the name is K.K. Doi International (㈱ドイインターナショナル) and the address is Shibuya-ku Jinnan (渋谷区神南) 1–11–3 in Tokyo.[8] At the time, the company was distributing the Rolleiflex SL2000F, SLX and SL66 as well as the Plaubel products.


  1. Its address was Higashi-ku Zaimoku-chō (東区材木町) 10. Source: advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1941, p.509, advertisement on p.25 of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, December 15, 1939, reproduced on p.59 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku, and advertisements dated January 1941 to July 1942 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.64, 83 and 104, here in the Gochamaze website and here in Nostalgic Camera by Toshio Inamura.
  2. Advertisement on p.25 of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, December 15, 1939, reproduced on p.59 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku, and advertisement dated February 1941 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104.
  3. The date 1949 is given as the date of foundation in the Japanese Wikipedia page and in the English Wikipedia page.
  4. Advertisement in Asahi Camera September 1951, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.122. The address was Kita-ku Sonezaki-naka (北区曽根崎中) 1–32. The same address appears in the advertisement on p.5 of Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, January 10, 1951, reproduced on p.91 of Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku.
  5. Advertisement dated November 1952 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.123. Only the Osaka address is given for the company, with the mention "former Doi Shōten" (土居商店跡).
  6. The Tokyo address was Chūō-ku Nihonbashi Honchō (中央区日本橋本町) 1–6 and the Fukuoka address was Higashi-nakasu Sakujinmachi (東中州作人町) 168 in April and May 1953 and Kamioyamamachi (上小山町) 36 in July 1954. Source: advertisements dated April 1953 to July 1954 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.123.
  7. Advertisements dated November 1952 to July 1954 reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.123.
  8. Advertisement by Doi International reproduced in Shashin-Bako.

Sources / further reading[]

  • Asahi Camera. Advertisement by Doi Shōten in April 1941, p.509.
  • 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.
  • Hagiya Takeshi (萩谷剛). "Makina 67: Ribaibaru shita jabara-kamera" (マキナ67:リバイバルした蛇腹カメラ, Makina 67: A bellows camera revival). Chapter 10 of Zunō kamera tanjō: Sengo kokusan kamera jū monogatari (ズノーカメラ誕生:戦後国産カメラ10物語, The birth of the Zunow camera: Ten stories of postwar Japanese camera makers). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1999. ISBN 4-257-12023-1.
  • Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin (日本写真興業通信). Hyaku-gō goto jūkai no kiroku (百号ごと十回の記録, Ten records, every hundred issues). Tokyo: Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin Sha (日本写真興業通信社), 1967. No ISBN number. Advertisements on p.59, corresponding to p.25 of the December 15, 1939 issue, and on p.91, corresponding to p.5 of the January 10, 1951 issue.


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