General books[]

Kokusan kamera no rekishi[]

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. (Template:Showa10 and inline Template:Kokusan)

This informative book is well described by its title. It is a large hardback in a slipcase, priced at ¥13,000 when new and now (2006) out of print. It is edited by a team of twenty (listed and described on the very last page), headed by Sakai Shūichi (酒井修一).
Between well-illustrated introductory material and informative appendices and an index, the main content of the book is divided into two main parts. The bulkier of these runs from p.57 to p.332, and is divided by decade: 1935–"45" (until the end of the war), 1945–55, and 1956–65. Within each of these decades, reduced-size reproductions of magazine advertisements for the Japanese market are presented of Japanese cameras ordered by name. This order is the conventional Japanese one (a, i u, e, o; ka, ki, ku, ke, ko; . . . wa; n.). The second large section runs from p.333 to p.419; in compact type (three columns of text on each page), the book briefly describes 1,851 cameras and says where they were advertised within Japanese photo magazines. Photographs are provided here for cameras made only for export and some other obscure models for which no advertisements could be found. (For a very few cameras, there is no advertisement or photograph.) For the typical item, however, the number is also that of one or more advertisements in the preceding section.
The book is tremendously informative and appears to have been compiled very carefully. Not surprisingly, it is not comprehensive: lack of any mention of some rumored camera should not be taken as proof that the camera does not exist.
Aside from some slogans and decorative phrases within the advertisements themselves, the entire content of this book is in Japanese. There is no romanized index in which readers might look up, say, "Nikon F"; instead, they must look up ニコンF. The book therefore might bemuse and even fascinate people who cannot read Japanese, but will probably frustrate them.
This book also contains the reproduction of various documents, such as one published in Asahi Camera January 1941 that lists the official prices for Japanese cameras; this is titled 国産写真機の公定価格 (Official price of the Japanese cameras). (Template:Kakaku0141 and inline Template:Kakaku0141 short)

Kokusan kamera zukan[]

This book is in English and Japanese language. See the description in the English language section.

Kamera no ayumi[]

Kamera no ayumi. Zen nihon shashin renmei sōritsu 50-shūnen kinen (カメラのあゆみ・全日本写真連盟創立五〇周年記念, History of cameras, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the All Japan Photographic Alliance). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1976. No ISBN number. (Template:Ayumi)

This book was compiled by the staff of the Pentax Gallery, and presents the museum's collection. For each camera, there is a single picture, whose size varies, and a short text and feature list.

Nihon shashin-shi gaisetsu[]

Nihon shashin-shi gaisetsu (日本写真史概説, "An outline history of photography in Japan"). Tokyo: Iwanami, 1999. ISBN 4-00-008381-3.

The supplementary 41st volume of the series Nihon no shashinka (日本の写真家). (Each of all but six of the forty other volumes is devoted to a single photographer.) It is compact and informative, but for most people who can read English (let alone those who cannot read Japanese) has now been supplanted by Tucker, et al., The History of Japanese Photography.

Book series[]

Kurashikku kamera sensho[]

The series Kurashikku kamera sensho (クラシックカメラ選書), published by Asahi Sonorama, consists of a numbered series of medium format books, published from 1995, and which attained no.41 in 2007. The series contain recent collectors' books written by Japanese authors, translations of Western collectors' books as well as reprints of older treaties on cameras or lenses.

Zunō kamera tanjō[]

Hagiya Takeshi (萩谷剛). 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 (Template:Zunow10)

Ten chapters, each about a single camera maker or camera and each previously published in the quarterly Kamera rebyū Kurashikku kamera senka (カメラレビュー・クラシックカメラ専科; below, "KKS"). This book contains a considerable amount of original research, as Hagiya interviews the surviving designers and other people closely connected with the companies, and presents photographs of prototypes, etc.
The chapters are about:
  1. Zunow (from KKS 6, September 1985)
  2. Topcon RE Super (from KKS 9, March 1987)
  3. Arco 35 (from KKS 16, October 1990)
  4. Norita 66 (from KKS 18, October 1991)
  5. Aires (from KKS 22, September 1992)
  6. Amano 66 (from KKS 26, September 1993)
  7. Takane (from KKS 27, December 1993)
  8. Ōfuna (from KKS 39, September 1996)
  9. Kowa (from KKS 40, December 1996)
  10. Makina 67 (from KKS 48, December 1998)
The book is now (2006) out of print.

Gendai kamera shinsho[]

The series Gendai kamera shinsho (現代カメラ新書), published by Asahi Sonorama, consists of a numbered series of small format books, mostly published in the 1970s and 1980s, and going up to no.88 if not beyond. The series title means "shinsho of the contemporary camera" (shinsho being a one of several standard compact formats for Japanese paperbacks), and it covers various aspects of photography: artistic and documentary as well as technical. This series was a pioneer in Japanese literature in treating some classic cameras.

  • Noma Toshio (野間俊夫). Kyorikei-tsuki kamera no henpo (距離計付きカメラの変遷, Evolution of rangefinder cameras). Gendai Kamera Shinsho (現代カメラ新書) 65. Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1979. No ISBN number.
  • Tanaka Masao (田中政雄). Nigan-refu no hanashi (zenpen)" (二眼レフのはなし[前編], TLR stories [first part]). Gendai Kamera Shinsho (現代カメラ新書) no.68. Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1980. No ISBN number. It is the compilation of a series of articles first published in Camera Times (カメラタイムズ) from 1978, and covers TLR cameras made up to 1945.
  • Shirai Tatsuo (白井達男). Maboroshi no kamera o otte (幻のカメラを追って, Pursuing phantom cameras). Gendai Kamera Shinsho (現代カメラ新書) 77. Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1982. ISBN 4-257-08077-9. It is the compilation of a series of articles first published in Kamera Rebyū / Camera Review around 1979–80, and treats the following cameras:
  • Sakurai Eiichi (桜井栄一). Zuikō yawa: Orinpasu kamera gaishi (ズイコー夜話・オリンパスカメラ外史, Zuiko night talks: Unofficial history of Olympus cameras). Gendai Kamera Shinsho (現代カメラ新書) 86. Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1979. ISBN 4-257-08086-8. It is the compilation of a series of articles first published in Olympus Photography.

Kurashikku kamera senka[]

This was actually a periodical. See the separate page Kurashikku Kamera Senka.

Eimukku: Manyuaru kamera shirīzu[]

The series Manyuaru kamera shirīzu (マニュラウカメラシリーズ) is part of the Eimukku (エイムック) collection of magazines published by Ei Shuppansha (エイ出版社 or 枻出版社). The name of the series means "Manual Camera Series", and is only written in small characters on the back cover; the front cover has the name of the Eimukku collection, in small characters too. The series treats predictably popular subjects, mainly major camera series of the 1970s and 1980s. Unlike other similar publications, each issue is wholly devoted to one main subject. When this is a camera manufacturer, older models are treated towards the end of the publication, sometimes in black and white.

Eimukku 316 Olympus[]

Eimukku 316, Manyuaru Kamera Shirīzu 7 (エイムック316・マニュアルカメラシリーズ7). Orinpasu no subete: Olympus (オリンパスのすべて・Olympus, All of Olympus). Tokyo: Ei Shuppansha, 2001. ISBN 4-87099-428-3.

The issue on Olympus has contents on the OM, Pen and Pen F series, a few pages on the XA, and practically nothing else on older models.

Eimukku 735 Minolta[]

Eimukku 735, Manyuaru Kamera Shirīzu 15 (エイムック735・マニュアルカメラシリーズ15). Minolta: Minoruta kamera no subete (Minolta:ミノルタカメラのすべて, Minolta: all of Minolta cameras). Tokyo: Ei Shuppansha, 2003. ISBN 4-87099-923-4. (Template:EM735)

The issue on Minolta has the following contents:

  • a section on the Minolta TC-1, pp.8–27;
  • a section on SLR cameras, pp.28–55;
  • an article on exposure meters, pp.56–8;
  • a section on the CL and CLE, pp.59–91;
  • an article on the Minolta 16 and Minolta 110 Zoom SLR Mark II, pp.92–3;
  • a section on Minolta lenses, with a huge table of SLR interchangeable lenses, pp.94–112;
  • an article on the Weathermatic series, p.113;
  • sample pictures, pp.114–25;
  • the huge collection of a Japanese collector, pp.126–7;
  • a section on older Minolta cameras, in black and white, pp.129–55.

Kikan Classic Camera[]

The publication Kikan Classic Camera (季刊クラシックカメラ, meaning "Classic camera quarterly") was a quarterly magazine published by Futabasha (双葉社) from 1998 to 2002. The front cover has the title prominently inscribed in a mix of Japanese and Roman characters: 季刊 CLASSIC CAMERA (the title is repeated in smaller Japanese characters too). The series is quite similar to the above Manyuaru kamera shirīzu, and treats the same kind of subjects. Most pages are devoted to the magazine's cover feature, usually a camera manufacturer, and a few smaller articles treat other subjects.

Kikan Classic Camera 14: Minolta[]

Kikan Classic Camera 14 Tokushū: Minoruta Rokkōru densetsu (季刊クラシックカメラ14・特集ミノルタロッコール伝説, special: Minolta Rokkor legend). Tokyo: Futabasha, 2002. ISBN 4-575-47427-4. (Template:Kikan14)

Exhibition catalogues of the JCII Camera Museum[]

The JCII Camera Museum (日本カメラ博物館, Nihon Kamera Hakubutsukan) is a small museum in central Tokyo. Usually, perhaps always, about half its display space is taken up by a single exhibition lasting two or three months; most, perhaps all of these exhibitions are represented in catalogues. The museum's English-language website is here. Like most Japanese exhibition catalogues, these lack ISBNs and are not available other than from the museum itself. A number of the catalogues, even for past exhibitions, are available from the museum; they are described (in Japanese) here, but this page seems to presume that anyone interested would be living in Japan and would order via fax.

In roughly chronological order, some of the catalogues are:

  • Nihon no kamera — Tanjō kara konnichi made (日本のカメラ・誕生から今日まで, Japanese cameras, from the birth to the present day). 1989.
  • Omoide no supuringu-kamera-ten (思い出のスプリングカメラ展, Exhibition of beloved self-erecting cameras). 1992.
  • Watakushi no ni-gan-refu kamera-ten (私の二眼レフカメラ展, Exhibition of twin lens reflex cameras). 1992.
  • Nihon no kamera o omoshiroku shita kyōshū no burando ten (日本のカメラを面白くした郷愁のブランド展, Exhibition of nostalgic brands that made Japanese cameras interesting). 1997.
  • Kamera no mekanizumu sono I: "Hai! Chīzu" Shunkan o torae-tsuzukeru shattā-ten (カメラのメカニズム・そのⅠ・「ハイ!チーズ」瞬間をとらえ続けるシャッター展, Camera mechanism, part 1 "Cheese!" Exhibition of instant taking shutters). 2002.
  • Orinpasu-ten — oputo-dejitaru-tekunolojī no kiseki (オリンパス展・オプトデジタルテクノロジーの軌跡, Olympus exhibition, the tracks of opto-digital technology). 2005.
  • Konika-Minoruta-ten (コニカミノルタ展, Konica Minolta exhibition). 2005.

Specialized books[]

Supuringu kamera de ikou[]

Kawamata Masataku (川又正卓), Yamazaki Shōichi (山嵜省一) et al. Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう:全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Introduction to and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4879560723.

This book presents 69 models of folding cameras. Each camera is typically covered in two pages, with one general picture, various smaller detail pictures and a couple of sample photos. Among these articles, 36 were already published in the magazine Shashin Kōgyō, and the remainder were specially written.
This book also contains an appendix with tables reproducing the data from a document dated 1944 and titled 国産写真機ノ現状調査 (Inquiry into Japanese cameras). It presents in a condensed way all the Japanese camera production as of April 1943. (Template:Inquiry1943 and inline Template:Inquiry1943 short)
The book is entirely in Japanese except the model names written in Roman letters in some captions.
The book is now (August 2006) in print.

Period documents[]


Here is a table of general Japanese photography magazines (see the individual articles for details):

title years former later
Amateur Camera (アマチュアカメラ) unknown Shashin Nihon
[Ars] Camera ([アルス]カメラ)
(inline Template:AR)
04/1921 – 12/1940 Shashin Bunka
01/1946 – 08/1956
Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ)
(inline Template:ACA)
04/1926 – 04/1942
10/1949 – current
Asahi Graph (アサヒグラフ) 01/1923 – 10/2000
Bessatsu Camera (別冊カメラ) 1950–1 Tokushū Camera Shashin no Kyōshitsu
Camera Art (カメラアート) 04/1935 – 12/1940 Hōdō Shashin
Camera Club (カメラクラブ)
(inline Template:CCL)
10/1936 – 12/1940 Shashin Bunka
01/1953 – 02/1955 Shashin no Kyōshitsu
Camera Fan (カメラファン)
(inline Template:CFA)
10/1950 – 10/1952
Camera Mainichi (カメラ毎日) 06/1954 – 04/1985
Camera no Tomo (カメラの友) 10/1958 – 12/1959 Gekkan Camera
Camera to Cine (カメラとシネ) 05/1957 – 02/1958 8mm Cineman
Gekkan Camera (月刊カメラ)
(inline Template:KG)
01/1955 – 09/1958 Kōga Gekkan Camera no Tomo
Gekkan Leica (月刊ライカ) 01/1934 – 12/1935 Kogata Camera
Hōdō Shashin (報道写真) 01/1941 – 04/1944 Camera Art Nihon Shashin
Kōga Gekkan (光画月刊) 11/1939 – 12/1940 Shashin Nihon
01/1949 – 12/1954 Gekkan Camera
Kogata Camera (小型カメラ) 01/1936 – 12/1940 Gekkan Leica Shashin Nihon
Nippon Camera
(or Nihon Camera, 日本カメラ)
(inline Template:NCA)
03/1950 – current
Nihon Shashin (日本写真) 05/1944 – 09/1944 Hōdō Shashin
Photo Art (フォトアート)
(inline Template:FAR)
05/1949 – 10/1977
Photography (フォトグラフィ) c.1950
Photo-Times (フォトタイムス) 03/1924 – 12/1940 Hōdō Shashin
Sankei Camera (サンケイカメラ) 05/1954 – 12/1964
Shashin Bunka (写真文化)
(inline Template:SB)
01/1941 – 10/1943 [Ars] Camera Shashin Kagaku
Camera Club
Shashin Salon
Shashin Kagaku (写真科学)
(inline Template:SKA)
11/1943 – 05–06/1945 Shashin Bunka
Shashin Kōgyō (写真工業)
(inline Template:SK)
06/1952 – 12/2008
Shashin Nihon (写真日本) 01/1941 – 02/1941 Amateur Camera
Kogata Camera
Kōga Gekkan
Shashin no Kyōshitsu (写真の教室) 06/1951 – 12/1952 Bessatsu Camera Camera Club
Shashin Salon (写真サロン)
(inline Template:SSA)
01/1933 – 12/1940 Shashin Bunka
09/1951 – 12/1961
Shashin Shinpō (写真新報) 09/1882 – 12/1940
Shūkan Asahi (週刊朝日) 02/1922 – current
Sunday Mainichi (サンデー毎日) 04/1922 – current
Tokushū Camera (特集カメラ) 1949–50 Bessatsu Camera
Tokushū Photo Art (特集フォトアート) 06/1957 – 10/1977

See also the following:

Official price lists[]

The Japanese government issued official lists of set prices from 1940 to the end of the war, and the American occupation forces made the same in the immediate postwar period. Two of these lists are fully or partly reproduced in recent documents:

  • "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in 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. Pp.108—9.
  • "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō" (カメラの公定価格官報発表, Official announcement of the set prices of the cameras), November 1941. Extract of a table listing Japanese camera production and setting the retail prices, reproduced in "Bebī Semi Fāsuto 'Kore ha bebī wo nanotta semi-ki da'" (ベビーセミファースト"これはベビーを名乗ったセミ機だ", Baby Semi First, 'this is a Semi camera called Baby'), an article by Furukawa Yasuo (古川保男) in Camera Collectors' News no. 277 (July 2000). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. P. 27.

"Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa"[]

The "Kokusan shashinki no genjō chōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras) is a government inquiry on the Japanese camera production as of April 1943. The document is dated 1944, and its contents are reproduced in the appendix of Supuringu kamera de ikou.