wordless wednesday

Japan Red Train

Japan Commuter

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Canon F-1 on Kodak Kodachrome – Yokohama, Japan – 1979

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Happy SUNday! – Dolls from Yokohama and more.

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When Carol and I lived in Yokohama in the late 1970s, a wonderful local artist made these dolls for us. We’ve kept them in a glass display cabinet all of these years and they remind us of how much we enjoyed our time there. Such artistry! Dolls photographed with my Samsung Galaxy S4 camera.

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Morning glory on the garden shed – Yokohama 1978. The door was salvaged from the local Navy Lodge from their vast trove of bits and pieces in the maintenance office. This image is scanned from a picture I took with my Kodak EK4 instant camera on Kodak film. Kodaks brief foray into instant photography.

Unrelated to the dolls, here’s the garden shed that I built for Carol. The Housing Office on the Navy base that we lived on in the Naka ward in Yokohama had free wood that you could use for projects such as this and the fence you see to its right. The lumber was free and so was the paint – only one color was available so everything was painted the same color in the neighborhood!

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Stacked sky high!

While on a walkabout on the backstreets in our neighborhood we discovered this “wall” of crates just outside of a bar. The image was taken with my Canon F-1 on Kodachrome film – 1978.

Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Earliest Known Yashima Guaranty Doc

An exciting find from Japan. This is the earliest known Yashima (Yashica) guaranty document. The “29” is the Showa year (1954). Other documents that were with this camera puts the date of sale as May 5, 1954, at a camera shop in Yokohama.

Yashima Flex Guaranty Card

The translation of the writing on the lower left. “For cameras manufactured by us with this inspection knowledge attached, we will repair free of charge for spontaneous failures that occurred within 5 years after the acceptance of the user card. Attach the main unit when repairing.”

I believe that the pink paper is a receipt from the camera store that sold this Yashima Flex. It does show that a guarantee period begins on Showa 29.5.5 to 30.5.4 (1954 May 5 to 1955 May 4).

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Back in 1954, the camera shop listed on this receipt says “Onuki Katsura Materials Store”, Yokohama, Noge-machi. Noge-machi is a very popular shopping street in Yokohama and features an exciting array of shops, restaurants, and bars.

This camera shop has been in business since 1934. It’s moved to a different location in Yokohama and is still going strong today. You can visit them here.

Camera Onuki Yokohama

Part of the fun of collecting classic cameras like this Yashima Flex is discovering unexpected documents from when the camera was sold. Understanding the early history of Yashima (Yashica) is important to understand how a startup camera maker in a small village (Suwa) in Nagano Prefecture made its mark on the world by the end of the 1950s.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashica 1958 & Yashica 2019

The title is a bit misleading – well actually very misleading as Yashica (the original Japanese company) no longer exists. Yashica was acquired by Kyocera in 1983 and killed off by 2004. My good friend Paul Sokk and I have been on a quest to find some of Yashica’s old factory buildings and because Paul has a sharp eye for details, he was able to find Yashica’s factory in Shimosuwa (Nagano Prefecture) while conducting some research.  The first image below is a scan from a sales brochure that I have from 1958.

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Yashica’s main office building located on the factory campus in Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan in 1958.

Yashica shimosuwa office day

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The same building as seen this April (2019). The company that currently operates from the building (Mutoh) has no ties to either Yashica or Kyocera. Photo courtesy of Paul Sokk.

Notice in the current picture that the building has had an addition added to its near side (enclosing a previous carport) and received a rather mundane paint job especially compared to what I’m sure was a very colorful design originally.

By the way, the current occupant, Mutoh Industries, Ltd., makes large format printing machines. More can be found here.

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Aerial view of the Yashica factory campus with the office building (viewed from behind) in the center.

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The Yashica gym and auditorium as seen today. Look at the aerial view in the image above this one to see the gym as it appeared in the late 1950s. Photo courtesy of Paul Sokk.

Many thanks to Paul Sokk and his wife Kathy for sharing photos from their most recent trip to Japan. Paul is the creator of THE site for anything about Yashica TLRs and early Yashica history the site can be found at www.yashicatlr.com

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Happy SUNday! – Toys!

The universal language of a discriminating customer – July 1979 – Yokohama, Japan

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Canon F-1 with Canon FD 80-200mm zoom lens on Kodak Kodachrome.

Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Near Motomachi, Yokohama – 1979

Interesting street scene captured these young ladies interacting with the always helpful police. Taken near the prestigious Motomachi shopping street in central Yokohama. Canon F-1 with Canon FD 80-200mm lens on Kodachrome 64 film. It’s really hard to believe that this is now 40-years ago.

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Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Sakura in Naka-ku – Yokohama’s little jewel

From the Spring of 1979 – one of the rare times I was home during the Sakura Season in Japan.

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Sankei-en in Yokohama

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Along Avenue D – Honmoku, Naka-ku, Yokohama

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Beautiful Sankei-en (Gardens)

We were very fortunate to live just a short bicycle ride from Sankei-en and although I was seldom home during the Spring we would always find time to spend the day there.

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Camera: Canon F-1 with Canon FD lenses on Kodak Kodachrome film.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

I’m running some nice specials in my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com and I’ll be adding some new cameras shortly!

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashica’s New Factory – 1972

Yashica opened a modern factory in Okaya, Nagano Prefecture in October 1972. They moved from their previous factory location in Shimosuwa (within 2 kilometers or so).

Here’s a picture of the factory taken on or near opening day. This image was “found” inside a Photax Catalogue from 1973/1974. Photax was the exclusive importer for Yashica products in the U.K.

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Image captured from the catalog (by me).

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Google Map Image

Current view of the same location which is now occupied by Kyocera. If you look closely you’ll notice that the overall boundaries of the complex haven’t changed or expanded past the original walls. The front drive and entrance to the Kyocera facility are basically the same as it was back in 1972. Of course, Kyocera purchased Yashica in 1983 and by 1986 the Japanese brand Yashica was killed off.  The present-day users of the name Yashica have no ties to the once proud Yashica Company.

For more about the history of Yashica’s factories please visit my previous post here.

As always, thanks for stopping by! Be sure to also stop by the “gift shop” at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some amazing deals on some vintage photo gear.

Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

Yokohama 1979

Memories of Yokohama. Another chance to go back in time to 1979.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

Carol and I lived in Yokohama from 1977 to early 1980. We have such wonderful memories of our time living there – memories that still make us smile today. Specifically, we lived in US Navy Housing Area 2 (283-D) which was in Honmoku, Naka-ku. Back then it was an industrial area with a refinery (see pic below) close by and of course the port with its thousands of automobiles and small trucks waiting to ship out to the States.

21517688123_4d5cb60b98_o Oil refinery as seen from a hill near our house.

Here, in no particular order, are some street scenes in and around ‘Yoko’. We can tell from our Google Earth visits, that the area has changed dramatically since the Navy left in 1982. There’s an elementary school where our house once stood and the houses we see now are big by what we considered big for Japanese houses back in…

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Yashica’s Factory in the late 1950s – Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture

I’ve been on a rather long quest to discover Yashica’s roots during their earliest days as a start-up in the tech-savvy region along the shores of Lake Suwa – also known as the “Switzerland of the Orient”.

With the help of my good friend Paul Sokk from Australia (www.yashicatlr.com), we’ve nailed down the location of Yashica’s second factory which was opened in 1956. I say second because Yashica’s (then Yashima) first factory was located across Lake Suwa in the town of Suwa – possibly established as early as the late 1940s. Yashica likely operated its first camera factory in Suwa – an early 1954 advertisement in English claims that the head office was located at 244, 4-Ku Ohwa, Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture, Telephone: Suwa 1350-4 (see scan below). My thinking is that is a less than an accurate translation of the Japanese to English. I’ve had more luck in finding the general area on today’s maps by using 2-4-4 Owa, Suwa which brings me very close to the present day Seiko-Epson headquarters.

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Likely 1954 advertisement in an English language newspaper circulated in Japan. As best as I can tell it may be the first ad for the Yashima Flex in English.

My fear all along during this search was that since Yashica was bought out by Kyocera in 1983 that the fate of the factory in Shimosuwa would be lost in time since Kyocera’s current factory in Okaya is not related to the Shimosuwa factory.

With Paul’s sharp eyes, attention to detail, and sheer determination he was able to find Yashica’s old factory in present-day Shimosuwa.

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Yashica’s “new” factory in Shimosuwa as it looked in late 1956 (at least to the artist). Lake Suwa and the distant shoreline can be seen in the distance.  Of note, this artists rendering is in no way even close to scale – many of the buildings are in the wrong location and the smokestacks seem to be placed for artistic “balance” vice accurate representation. Of course, this drawing may be more conceptional and not reflective of reality.

The image above is an artist’s rendering of the Shimosuwa factory complex before the addition of the massive gym structure (see below) and before the central administration building was built.

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Looking south across Yashica’s factory campus as it appeared in the mid-1960s. The large building on the bottom center in this picture is Yashica’s gym and auditorium. The administration building is shown about centered in this scan.

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The famous and easily identifiable Yashica factory administration building at night.

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Aerial view of the Yashica factory campus from around 1959 or so. The gym building is on the extreme upper left in this picture. The factory administration building with the large verticle “Yashica” on it can be seen from behind (from the south looking north).

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This image is from a 1958 Yashica sales brochure. The distinctive Yashica factory administration building as it looked when new. At this point in time, it still had the covered parking area just to the building’s right – two modern full-sized “service” vehicles are parked underneath.

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A view of the Yashica factory campus from around 1960. I would guess that the view is taken from the hillside that overlooks the grounds. Very similar view of the artist’s rendering from 1956. (Document scan courtesy of Paul Sokk)

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Current view of the original site of Yashica’s first factory in Shimosuwa, Nagano Prefecture. The present use of this site is by Mutoh Industries, Ltd. – a maker of large-scale inkjet printers for commercial use and sold around the world.

In the above capture, Yashica’s gym building (large silver roof structure in the upper left portion of the highlighted area) can still be seen. Most of the original buildings appear to have saved.

It’s been a long but enjoyable process searching for this site. For a Yashicaphile such as myself, I would love to be able to visit the site and tour the facilities. I would like to meet with previous employees of Yashica and speak with them about their experiences while working for Yashica. Maybe someone knows the exact location of Yashica’s first factory in Suwa. That would be neat. I’ve reached out to the Mutoh company and have inquired if they would be interested in acquiring any of my collected scans of the factory from its earliest days.

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris