Jilona Shōkai or Jilon Shōkai (ヂロン商会, Jiron Shōkai) was a Japanese company in the late 1930s. It was certainly named after Nakamura Jirō (中村次郎), inventor of the Midget camera: "Jilo" is an alternative spelling for the first name Jirō, and "na" is for Nakamura. The company was ruled by Shibuya Takashige (渋谷高重), and manufactured the Midget, exclusively distributed by Misuzu Shōkai, at least until 1938. In August of that year, Shibuya fired Nakamura and announced that he would establish a contract with Ōmiya, regardless of the agreement already tying the company to Misuzu. As a result of these tensions, Jilona piled up a stock of 3,000 unsold cameras. In October, Mr Imamoto of Kyoto bought Jilona's stocks; he later tried to sue Misuzu Shōkai, presumably disputing the exclusivity on the distribution of the Midget, but the court persuaded him to reach an agreement with the company in March 1939.
After these troubles, Misuzu Shōkai became the camera's sole distributor again, and the eventual fate of Jilona Shōkai and its head officer Shibuya Takashige is unknown. In 1943, the production of the Midget was assumed by the company Tōa Kinzoku, which might be a successor of Jilona Shōkai. Its lens was produced by Yoshino Kōgaku, another subcontractor of Misuzu Shōkai, which also made a Jilona or Jilonar (ジロナー) lens. Nakamura Jirō presumably continued to play a role in the development of the Midget, and Jilona markings continued to appear on the camera until the early 1950s.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Mention of Nakamura Jirō as the "maker" of the Midget: "Shōwa-ki no shashin gyōkai", August 1938.
- Mention of Shibuya Takashige: "Shōwa-ki no shashin gyōkai", August 1938.
- "Shōwa-ki no shashin gyōkai", August 1938.
- "Shōwa-ki no shashin gyōkai", September 1938.
- "Shōwa-ki no shashin gyōkai", October 1938 and March 1939.
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Awano Mikio (粟野幹男). "Mizetto" (ミゼット, Midget). In Camera Collectors' News no.271 (January 2000). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha.
- "Shōwa-ki no shashin gyōkai" (昭和期の写真業界, Photography business world of the Showa era.) Extract of an article in Nihon Shashin Kōgyō Tsūshin, reproduced in Awano, p.6 of Camera Collectors' News no.271.