Fuji Kōgaku was a Japanese camera maker active at least from 1936 to 1944, and maybe also for some time after the war. It is unrelated to the much better known company Fuji Film. At some point in the 1950s it became Katsuma Kōgaku Kōgyō and established the related company Pioneer Camera.



  • 1History
    • 1.1Prewar and wartime
    • 1.2Postwar
  • 2120 film cameras
    • 2.14.5×6 rangefinder, collapsible
    • 2.24.5×6 folding
    • 2.36×6 folding
    • 2.46×6 TLR
    • 2.56×9 folding
  • 3127 film cameras
    • 3.13×4 folding
    • 3.24×4 telescopic
    • 3.34×6.5 folding
    • 3.4Unknown
  • 4Subminiature cameras
  • 5Other products
    • 5.1Shutters
    • 5.2Lenses
    • 5.3Miscellaneous
  • 6Notes
  • 7Bibliography
    • 7.1Original documents
    • 7.2Recent sources
  • 8Links


Prewar and wartime[]

The company appeared c.1936 as Fuji Kōgaku Kikai Seisakusho (富士光学器械製作所), based in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Its first cameras were the Dianette and Pionette, copies of the Pearlette or Piccolette. At the beginning, the company used a round logo reading FUJI OPTISCHE WERK and TK. It was soon replaced by a FUJI KŌGAKU logo inside a doublet lens scheme with a protuberance at the top, reminding the silhouette of Mount Fuji. The company also used the short name Fujikō (富士光).

From 1936, Fuji Kōgaku released a range of cameras called "Lyra" (ライラ, raira); this name was certainly meant to recall "Leica" (ライカ, raika in Japanese). By 1937, the company's headquarters moved to Hongō, Tokyo, whereas the main plant was still in Ikebukuro.

In 1938 or 1939, the company was renamed Fuji Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. (富士光学工業㈱, Fuji Optical Industries Co., Ltd.); it retained the same name at least until 1944. From c.1939, a second plant appeared in Itabashi, Tokyo.

The Fujikō cameras were first distributed by various dealers, among which Yamamoto Shashinki-ten, before the separate trading company Fujikō Shōji K.K. (富士光商事株式会社) was formed around 1941.


The company probably survived the war: a version of the Lyra Six has been observed that is probably postwar, as indicated by the style of the top housing and the presence of a synchronized shutter with a PC connector. This camera has a logo similar in shape to the one described above, but written LYRA FUJIKŌ. It seems that the postwar Lyraflex was made around the same time, when the company was still using the Fujikō name. The late model of the Baby Balnet has FUJI.K TOKYŌ markings, and was probably made after the war too. Finally, a column about the Balnet Four dated 1953 mentions the distributor Fuji Shōji (富士商事), based in Nakameguro (Tokyo), perhaps an associated trading company.

It is said that Fuji Kōgaku was split in two parts, one of them becoming Taisei Kōki (see this page) and the other taking the name Katsuma Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. (勝間光学工業株式会社). Both companies used the Terionar lens name and had similar logos, but only Katsuma kept the Lyra brand name, making the postwar Semi Lyra in 1955 and 1956. The company used a KATUMA LYRA logo that was similar in shape to the logo used by Fuji Kōgaku.

It seems that another company called Pioneer Camera K.K. (パイオニアカメラ株式会社) was set up at the end of 1955 to make or sell the Pioneer folder. This company shared the same address as Katsuma and the Pioneer folder seems to share its body casting with the postwar Semi Lyra. Katsuma and Pioneer cameras were separately advertised in 1955 and 1956 before both companies ceased camera production.

Katsuma is mentioned by various sources as a binocular maker, and it seems that it continued to make binoculars long after it dropped the camera activity, sometimes using the English name Katsuma Optical Company and the corresponding KOC logo inside a triangle, itself inside a circle.

120 film cameras[]

4.5×6 rangefinder, collapsible[]

  • Lyrax

4.5×6 folding[]

  • Semi Lyra (prewar and wartime)
  • Semi Golder (viewfinder only, postwar Fujikō or Katsuma period)
  • Semi Lyra A (viewfinder only, Katsuma period)
  • Semi Lyra SR (uncoupled rangefinder, Katsuma period)
  • Pioneer folder (lever advance, sold by Pioneer Camera)

The Bakyna strut-folder is attributed by some sources to Fuji Kōgaku, but this is unsure.

The Semi Elka might be related to Fuji Kōgaku, but this is unconfirmed.

6×6 folding[]

  • Lyra Six

6×6 TLR[]

  • Lyra Flex (prewar and wartime)
  • Lyraflex (postwar)

6×9 folding[]

  • Lyra (6×9) prototype

127 film cameras[]

3×4 folding[]

  • Baby Lyra
  • Baby Balnet

4×4 telescopic[]

  • Balnet Four

4×6.5 folding[]

  • Dianette
  • Pionette


  • Baby Lyra Flex (c.1941, existence unconfirmed)

Subminiature cameras[]

  • Lyravit (c.1941, existence unconfirmed)
  • Comex (14×14mm)

The Nikkobaby, name variant of the Comex, was perhaps made by the company too.