Yashima Flex Box – revisited

As a die-hard collector of Yashica cameras and photo gear, I can’t pass up the opportunity to share interesting bits that represent Yashica’s history. Of course, Yashica started off as Yashima and this represents the only camera that bore the Yashima name. Subsequent cameras quickly were named Yashica while the company name remained Yashima (until 1958).

So the Yashima Flex is pretty unique as it is a one-off. Here’s a pretty rare find – an original box for the Yashima Flex from 1953. The box structurally is sound and the graphics are clear and still appealing. There is some embedded soil that stained the paper on the top of the box but that’s to be expected as the top receives the most fallout from pollutants.

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This is spot on to the actual color of the box (faded I’m sure after all these years).

These boxes are often called presentation boxes as they were inside of an outer cardboard shipping box. As best as I can tell, the boxes were never intended to be a place to store your camera when not in use so most were disposed of as soon as the camera was used. There’s no reason not to store your camera in its leather case in the box other than it wasn’t very convenient to do so. Finding an intact box for a camera made in Japan sixty-five years ago is pretty amazing especially considering that there weren’t many made.

Yashima was a startup just like hundreds of others in post-war Japan. How their boxes looked in a dealers display mattered so these early 1950s boxes often were made extremely well. To give an idea of its size here are its dimensions. About 7 inches tall, 5 inches wide and 4.25 inches deep ( 170 x 124 x 110mm).

Yashima Flex Box Set (1) with logo

Yashima’s pride and joy! Not quite as good a representation of the actual color of the box compared to pictures earlier in this post.

Thanks for stopping by! Chris

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Yashima Flex Inspection Tag – update 1

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Earliest known inspection tag from Yashima Kogaku Seiki Company – 1953

It seems at first glance to be nothing important, but to a fanatic Yashica collector, this is golden. It’s the earliest known tag from Yashima complete with serial number and inspector’s stamps.

What it is. Most cameras from Japan came with some sort of inspection tag, form or sticker. This one says it’s an Inspection Form (across the top). What makes this find special is that it was included with the first twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera that bore the company name – Yashima. The Yashima Flex TLR camera was produced between 1953 and 1954 before changing the name to Yashica Flex in subsequent models and the company became known as Yashica in 1958.

This would have hung from the camera body and the serial number of the camera is recorded on the tag (here the last two numbers are blocked). The inspector would have entered a date next to the word Showa – or that would have been entered by the camera store at the time of sale. I don’t have an image of the other side so I don’t know what additional info there would be.

Yashima Flex Green Book

This could be the instruction book (leaflet) that would have come with the camera but since none have been documented yet it could be something else entirely. My good friend Paul Sokk has suggested that it could be filled with a pad of papers for recording data about your photographs.

Kanji on Green Book

“Store​ the​ record​ of​ your​ photo​ data.​ Print​ your​ photos​ on​ this​ paper​ to​ better​ preserve​ your​ photos”.

This is the best translation that I can ascertain at this time. My Google translate app did poorly so this was provided by a person in Japan. I can’t say that I understand but without a peek of the other side or a view of the inside of the booklet, I can only guess as to what it really means.

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This is the set I just purchased from Japan. It shows the size of the green booklet as it relates to the camera box.

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Here’s a camera box from another set of mine and the instruction book from my Yashica Flex S. I’ve staged them to show how similar they are to one another in size compared to the green book. My instruction book is taller than the green book by about an inch and just a bit wider.

It finally got to me. After looking at this set in Japan and not knowing what the green book is I decided to purchase it. Oh well. I’ll know soon.

 

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Yashica’s Tokyo Headquarters – 1974 and 2019

Yashica opened its new Tokyo headquarters officially in the Summer of 1974. Here’s a before and after picture.

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Yashica’s headquarters as it appeared in August 1974.

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Yashica headquarters building from April 2019. Photos courtesy of Paul Sokk.

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The current building is known as the Kyocera Harajuku Building located at 6-27-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Kyocera acquired Yashica in 1983 and for the most part, Kyocera continues to operate in many of Yashica’s former properties.

For more about Yashica’s history please check out Paul’s excellent site here.

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.

Contax Heaven – ‘Yashica, A New Horizon’

The title refers to a not widely circulated Yashica marketing brochure that was sent to virtually all US camera dealers in early 1975. In it, Yashica informed dealers that they would directly distribute their products (including the Contax line) to them and that they had a direct representative in Yashica USA. Definitely a bold move by Yashica during a desperate time in their history (and struggle to stay solvent).

Here’s some eye candy from that brochure –

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How about finding this under the Christmas tree then or now?

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Really the first introduction of the partnership between Yashica and Contax.

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The marketing brochure (cover) from 1975.

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The original letter (not a copy) that was sent to each camera dealer in the US. Each was signed by the President (or more likely an underling).

I personally haven’t collected anything with the Contax branding but that hasn’t meant that I wouldn’t want to – just no more room for another branch in the collection.

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 Mystery – what is it and what does it mean?

Contributor and Yashica aficionado, Graham Buxton-Smither posted this picture in my Flickr Group, https://www.flickr.com/groups/2734130@N24/pool/ the other day asking if I’d ever seen this type of serial number on a Yashica TL Electro X (pro-black body) before. I haven’t so I thought it would be good to broadcast it in this blog in hopes of discovering something about it.

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Serial number with its odd two letter prefix ‘FI’. Photo courtesy of Graham Buxton-Smither https://www.flickr.com/photos/164456136@N06/

The serial number itself is unremarkable in the sense that it follows along with the standard for a Yashica SLR. It decodes to December 1969 as the manufacture date. The ‘FI’ has no previous use that I’m aware of so it was a surprise to see it. Graham states that it is on a one owner Yashica TL Electro X purchased in the UK when new. It appears to be a factory mark as the black paint looks undisturbed.

I’m stumped as there isn’t an example anywhere in my databases. I can’t even fathom a guess at this point.

Any help including guesses will be appreciated.

Thanks – Chris

 

Yashica On Ice

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Yashica Rookie TLR from 1956. Also known as a Yashicaflex Model R.

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Warranty or service guarantee card that was issued with the Yashica Rookie verifying that it was known as the Model R in Japan.

The Rookie was only available for sale in Japan and was released in 1956.

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.

Timeless Tuesday – Yashica 8 U-matic

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Yashica 8mm film movie camera from 1961. Fast f1.8 Yashinon zoom lens. The camera sold for around $140. in the early 1960s.

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Complete kit. BTW, the little hang tag from LIFE depicts a cover from 1947.

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’s History as reported by Yashica – 1975

The Yashica marketing team that put this document together back in early 1975 appear to have summarized the history of the company – or were blatantly unaware of the actual dates of important milestones.

But with that said it’s important to “take it all in ” from all sources and to glean whatever good bits that it does offer. Yashica wasn’t a company that seemed to be all that interested in dates anyway. Some of the dates were more than likely dates that were recorded in Japan and may have marked the actual, formal date that the event was finalized. There’s also the possibility that if this brochure was put together in the US there may simply be some instances where meanings were lost in translation.

This excerpt is taken from the Yashica publication ‘Yashica A New Horizon’

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It does use the term “highlights” when summarizing the events.

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Yashica’s new (1974) headquarters building in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.

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Published in early 1975, this brochure was primarily focused on camera dealers located in the United States.

I’ll be sharing additional bits from this interesting brochure over the coming weeks. Previous posts can be found here and here.

Many 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 – A New Horizon 1975

From the rarely seen sales brochure ‘Yashica A New Horizon’ published in early 1975.

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This booklet was sent to all US camera dealers with a cover letter addressing Yashica’s future plans for distributing their line of cameras and photo equipment directly to dealers in the United States. In all of my years of collecting Yashica related items, this is the first time I’ve seen this publication. It’s a perfect 8.5 x 11 inches, in full color, printed on heavy stock glossy paper with 14-pages filled with photographs never used outside of this book.

Here is the cover letter that accompanied the brochure. It provides some insight into the heart of Yashica and at this point in time, brings to light their attempts to turn the company around and emerge from bankruptcy in a much better place.

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The letter is typed on bond paper (with watermark) and was signed by Mr. Kenji Sakuma so I don’t believe it is simply a photocopy casually dashed off to dealers. It shows how important this new program was to Yashica.

My good friend Paul Sokk (https://www.yashicatlr.com) pointed out the gender-specific remark “In the very near future, one of our salesmen, under the direction…”. When read using today’s optics it would appear as though it was out of place and implied that there would be no women calling on you Mr. Camera Dealer. Considering that this is from Japan and written in 1975 I believe it was simply stating the obvious – there probably weren’t females in these positions at this point in time and it would be many decades before the glass ceiling would be broken (struggles exist even to this day). Of course, the term salesmen could also be interpreted as a generic term for the position as the term sales person had not yet come into use.

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A view of the back cover which was released without the usual printing data or date.

The Yashica Line as represented in early 1975. Noticeably missing is the TL Electro X ITS model with its distinctive gold electron logo on the pentaprism.

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The Yashica line as presented in the brochure. The TL Electro X and TL-E are represented in the SLR category but no TL Electro X ITS which I find very odd.

As always, thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to share anything that may enhance this post or correct any inaccuracies. – 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.