Japanese plate box cameras (edit)
No.0 (4×5cm) Adam | Hayatori Renshūyō
atom (4.5×6cm) Atom Hayatori Shashinki
meishi (5.5×8cm) Cherry
tefuda (8×10.5cm) Champion | Cherry | Sakura Army | Sakura Honor | Sakura Navy
nimaigake (8×12cm) Sakura Honor
kabine (12×16.5cm) Sakura Honor
Japanese plate film: monocular, folding bed, strut-folding and SLR ->
3×4 and 4×4, 4×5 and 4×6.5, 4.5×6, 6×6 and 6×9 ->

The Sakura Navy Hand Camera (さくらネビー手提暗函) or Navy Hand Camera (ネビー手提暗函)[1] is a magazine camera sold by Konishi (predecessor of Konica) in the 1900s and early 1910s.


One source says that the Navy was an imported camera introduced in June 1905 and made by A. C. Jackson in the UK. This particular company was actually absorbed into Houghton in March 1904, and the attribution is certainly wrong. The Navy is nonetheless very similar to some of the Houghtons Klito magazine camera models. It is extremely difficult to know for sure if the camera was a Japanese model inspired by the Klito or an imported one. The only original document observed so far does not explicitly state that the Navy was made in Konishi's manufacturing facilities.[2] The naming of the products sold by Konishi perhaps gives a hint of the answer: it seems that all the imported cameras were sold under their original brand name and none was rebadged, whereas all the cameras sold under a local brand name were made in Japan.[3] This would mean that the Navy, whose brand name is not found in the West, was a local copy of the British camera.


The Navy is known by a single illustration, found in an original catalogue and reproduced elsewhere.[4] The camera has the shape of a vertically elongated box, and contains twelve plates in tefuda format (8×10.5cm).[5] The control of the changing mechanism is visible above the camera, under the top handle. The lens is slightly offset upwards, and there are two brilliant finders with round windows near the top of the front plate. Two knobs are visible, one on the right of the lens (as seen from the front) and another at the bottom right. The release lever is on the photographer's right, near the bottom. An L-shaped window is visible next to the upper brilliant finder, and a T-shaped window next to the other finder; these certainly correspond to the bubble levels.[6]

The shutter gives Time and Instant exposures with speeds variable from 1s to 1/100.[7] It seems that the speeds are set by the knob at the bottom right of the front plate. The lens features are unknown.

Commercial life[]

The chronology of Konica's official history book says that the Navy was released in January 1907, and the date of 1907 is generally retained by other sources.[8] However the source cited above which assimilates the Navy to an imported camera says June 1905.[9]

The camera was likely called "Sakura Navy" at the beginning, by analogy with the Sakura Army, but this is not confirmed by any original document seen so far.[10]

The December 1911 catalogue lists the model as the "Navy Hand Camera", and gives the price of ¥16.[11] The Navy is presented as an "educational hand camera", along with the cheaper Champion and Cherry magazine cameras.[12]


  1. The phrase tesage anbako (手提暗函) is rendered as "Hand Camera" in the Konishi catalogue dated December 1911. In modern sources, it is often translated as "Portable Camera" and the camera is sometimes called "Navy Portable". The Japanese word anbako literally means "dark box"; it was modeled after "camera obscura" and was used for cameras until around the 1910s.
  2. December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten, p.25.
  3. This is inferred from the contents of the December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten. The case of the Midg is dubious but probably follows the general rule.
  4. December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten, p.25. The document reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha is similar. The same illustration is reproduced in Sakai, p.17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and in this other page of the same website.
  5. Twelve plates in tefuda format: December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten, p.25.
  6. Bubble level or levels: December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten, p.25 (水平器ありて).
  7. December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten, p.25 (定時及瞬間撮影をせられ、シャッターは一秒より百分の一秒迄の緩急あり). Sakai, p.17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, mentions T, B, 1–100 speeds.
  8. January 1907: chronology from the official company history Shashin to tomo ni hyaku-nen, reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10. The date is simply given as 1907 in Sakai, p.17 of the same magazine, and in the chronology at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.
  9. Lewis, p.18.
  10. The name "Sakura Navy" is used in Sakai, p.17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, but not in the other sources.
  11. December 1911 catalogue by Konishi Honten, p.25.
  12. "Educational hand camera": 教育用手提暗函.



In Japanese:

Konishiroku prewar and wartime cameras (edit)
plate hand cameras stereo hand cameras strut folders box telephoto SLR
Idea (original) | Idea A | Idea B | Idea Snap | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Lily (original) | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Tropical Lily | Noble | Ohca | Sakura Palace | Sakura Pocket Prano | Sakura Prano Idea Binocular | Sakura Binocular Prano Minimum Idea | Idea Spring | Korok Champion | Cherry | Sakura Army | Sakura Honor | Sakura Navy Idea Telephoto Idea Reflex (1910 and 1911) | Idea Reflex (1932) | Neat Reflex | Sakura Reflex Prano
rollfilm folders box or collapsible TLR
Pearlette | Special Pearlette | B Pearlette | Pearl (for plates and rollfilm) | Pearl No.2 | Pearl (Year 8) | Baby Pearl | Semi Pearl | Sakura Palace Record | Sakura (box) | Sakura (bakelite) Sakura-flex