Minagawa Shōten (皆川商店) was a Japanese distributor based in Tokyo.[1] From 1929, it marketed the First plate folders, certainly produced by Kuribayashi. The "First" brand was certainly owned by Minagawa, and the company became the exclusive distributor of the Kuribayashi cameras until the early 1940s. These were advertised as "made by First Camera Works", but it seems that "First Camera Works" was nothing more than a name and logo forged by Minagawa for advertising purpose (see the discussion about the Camera Works endings).[2]

Minagawa provided the financial backing to Nakagawa Kenzō to develop the Leotax rangefinder camera and found Kyōei-sha in January 1938, which would soon become Shōwa Kōgaku.[3]

After the war, Minagawa again used the "First" brand and "First Camera Works" logo for the Firstflex 6×6 TLR and First Six 6×6 folder, made by Tokiwa Seiki. The Minagawa company went bankrupt in 1955.[4]

Distributed cameras[]

Before 1945[]

After 1945[]


  1. Its address from 1934 to 1940 was Tōkyō Ueno Ekimae Okachimachi (東京上野駅前御徒町). Source: advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.85–8. Its address from 1951 to 1955 was Tōkyō-to Taitō-ku Okachimachi 3-chōme 16 (東京都台東区御徒町3丁目16). It was probably the same as before, with the new address system used after the war. Source: advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.169–70.
  2. Baird, p.15, suggests that First Camera Works was a manufacturing company jointly owned by Kuribayashi and Minagawa, but it seems that no actual company was called that way.
  3. Sugiyama, p.47.
  4. Baird, p.273.