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.

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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.

In the grips of bankruptcy, Yashica is forced to swallow a bitter pill – 1975

The early 1970s were not kind to Yashica. Accusations of embezzlement, mismanagement, inflated assets, and then the fuel crisis and economic downturn led Yashica to financial peril. By early 1975 Yashica was bankrupt and with the urging of the Japanese government (and creditor banks) Yashica fell into the reluctant lap of Kyocera.

Kyocera Corporation which was previously the Kyoto Ceramic Company was not a camera maker – the founder and president Mr. Kazuo Inamori was a brilliant engineer but again, not a camera manufacturer. In early 1975, Yashica made a desperate attempt to reach out directly to the market in the US.

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Mr. Shiro Kaneko was installed as the president of the Yashica Company (formerly of the trading company Nissho-Iwai) and decided to market Yashica products directly to camera dealers across the United States. He put Mr. Kenji Sakuma in charge of the US endeavor.

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Reading this page you realize how much clout these two companies had in Japan and you can guess that they had a ton of money invested in Yashica.

Yashica had been on a building spree in Japan opening a new, ultra-modern factory in Okaya, Nagano Prefecture in 1972 and building a new 6-story headquarters office complex in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo and moving in by the summer of 1974. Money was flowing out of Yashica like water through a cracked dam by this point.

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The new factory in Okaya in the summer of 1974. By the way, this location is still in operation and owned by Kyocera.

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Yashica’s new headquarters located at 6-27-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo as it looked in mid-1974. Check out the modern furniture (colorful too) and those displays with the new Contax line and a nice display rack loaded with brochures of the day.

The picture above is taken from a recently discovered booklet published by Yashica in early 1975. I don’t see Yashica’s name anywhere on the building (they did crop the picture quite a bit) but I see Honda’s name and logo on one of the doors.

Below is the Yashica building as it appears today (2018). It’s known as the Kyocera Harajuku Building and is located in Shibuya-ku on Meiji-dori Avenue in Tokyo.

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Current view of the original Yashica HQ building. Kyocera still has a presence in the building with mixed use shops occupying the ground floor. (Google Map Image)

Although Yashica continued to make cameras throughout the remainder of the decade they failed to truly innovate new designs and missed the boat on so many fronts while others (Canon, Nikon) forged ahead with large investments in exciting new cameras (Canon F-1, Canon AE-1, A-1) and new technologies. In my opinion, the build quality also suffered during this period and I personally do not collect the SLRs from this period.

The end is near. By October 1983, Yashica was fully merged with Kyocera. The once proud and independent company founded by Mr. Yoshimasa Ushiyama and his brother in 1949 was gone. I’m not 100% sure if this picture (below) is from April 1983 or from October 1983. It’s either the formal announcement by Yashica and Kyocera of the future merger or the actual merger “ceremony”.

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Mr. Ryozo Endo (left) president of Yashica and the president and founder of Kyocera Mr. Kazuo Inamori. A dark day but inevitable.

Yashica-Kyocera managed to occasionally market a few hits during the late 1980s and 1990s but by the mid-2000s Kyocera stopped making cameras and soon thereafter sold the name Yashica.

Kyocera has done quite well for itself under Mr. Inamori and today they still operate out of many of the former Yashica properties. The Yashica you hear about today is not associated with the original company and the recent Yashica DigiFilm camera was an interesting attempt to do something with the Yashica name.

Thanks so much for stopping by and if you made it to this point of the post give yourself a big pat on the back! – 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.