It’s known that Yashica had a presence in Hong Kong very early on but the establishment of an actual factory in Hong Kong didn’t happen until around 1968. A friend of mine on Flickr has spotted a rather unique marking on the back of his Yashica Minister III which was released early 1966.
Just to the right of the viewfinder, this Yashica Minister III has a seldom seen marking indicating that the camera was in some way processed in Hong Kong. Image courtesy of Graham Buxton-Smith.
BTW, the serial number decodes to 8 = 1968, 3 = March, 1816 = number 1,816 made that month. The “H” does not necessarily indicate Hong Kong.
Minister III from the mid-1960s. Image courtesy of Graham Buxton-Smith. The camera on the left has the Hong Kong markings.
Apparently, before Yashica operated a full-scale factory in Hong Kong it appears that they may have sent partially completed cameras there for final assembly. Usually, it would have “Assembled in Hong Kong” or simply “Hong Kong” on the camera. I’ve seen “assembled in Hong Kong from parts made in Japan” before but not engraved anywhere on the camera body. My best guess is that Yashica was attempting to save on labor costs or import fees by doing so. By the way, the “H” before the serial number in this example may not indicate Hong Kong. It’s been reported that some cameras have been spotted with the “H” but engraved Japan. More investigation is needed.
By 1986 Yashica stopped making the Yashica Mat 124G. Notice that at the top of this address list it says Kyocera Corporation vice Yashica. Yashica was acquired by Kyocera in 1983.
So, not a significant discovery but an interesting one to a Yashicaphile. Has anyone else spotted a Yashica with “Processed in Hong Kong” before? If you’ve had please share that info with me here or at email@example.com – Thanks, Chris
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