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.

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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.

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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.

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.

The Yashica Okaya Factory – New View 1974

As I’ve previously reported here, Yashica’s last factory before the Kyocera acquisition was this modern sprawling complex in the town of Okaya, Nagano Prefecture.

I’ve recently purchased documents that show what I believe the complex looked like in the summer of 1974.

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This is the only detailed color photograph of the factory that I’ve seen. For my previous post about the factory and to see the original view from 1972 click here.

Another related post can be found at https://wordpress.com/post/yashicasailorboy.com/8052

Additionally here’s the text about the factory taken directly from the Yashica publication ‘A New Horizon’ that contained the color image of the factory pictured above.

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The introduction page from the 14-page booklet ‘Yashica A New Horizon’.

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Of interest, Kyocera still operates from this same location today. For the most part, it looks only slightly changed from 1972. Yashica was purchased by Kyocera in 1983 and was gone by the mid-2000s. A great company and a great name wiped out by Kyocera shortly after what would have been Yashica’s Golden Anniversary.

I’ll be posting more from this very interesting and informative booklet from Yashica soon.

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.

Tuesday 2’s

Yashica’s first two TLRs – 1953 1954

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Twenty years of Yashica development – 1950s 1970s

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Studio Cameras:     (Top) Samsung Galaxy S4      (Bottom) Sony DSC W-170

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

BTW, my camera shop is always open at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – lots of specials!

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.

Koinobori – Carp Streamer

I know it’s a bit out of season for a picture of a carp streamer (Koinobori) but this image qualifies as a “found image” from a bunch of “lost” pictures that I had taken with my Canon A-1 and Canon FD 500mm reflex lens. I believe I used Fujicolor.

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I had sold this Canon lens (FD 500mm f/8 Reflex) in mid-2013 and never really got a chance to give it a good workout. I have another 500mm lens headed my way and I hope to give this new one more of a workout.

The Canon reflex (mirror lens) produces pleasing highlights in the out of focus background.

Visit my shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some interesting photo gear.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

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

 

Yashica’s L AF – good things come from plastic rectangles

A true plastic fantastic from Kyocera-Yashica. Released around 1986, this little gem is a modern classic. It gives much better-known (and much more expensive) point & shoots a run for the money.

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Poor man’s T* Series with Zeiss lenses (I’m pretty sure these lenses are Zeiss without the coating).

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Not much control over this camera – it was designed to take pictures without much fuss – and do it well.

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It says Yashica lens but I’m sure it’s a Zeiss – why wouldn’t it? By the way, the 32mm f/3.5 lens is as fast as the other T* Series lenses – with the exception of the Kyocera T Scope (Japanese market T3) which is f/2.8

Good condition Yashica L AF’s are not common on online auction sites but nice ones still go for less than $40 or so. This nearly mint one went for $20!

Sharp contrasty lens – quick but not super quick AF but excellent auto exposure – perfect pics nearly every shot!

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Images were taken on Fujicolor Superia color negative film. No post-production on any of these outside pics.

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Headed our way from Japan!

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris