Another Yashica Sailor Boy

Here’s another look at this post about Yashica’s Sailor Boy.

Chasing Classic Cameras with Chris

Those of you who follow this blog know that our main collecting passion lies with most everything from Yashica. The Yashica TL Electro X was my first 35mm SLR and since then my collection of all things Yashica has grown substantially.


On the left is the original Yashica Sailor Boy (1962) – to the right is the Wee Willie Winkie version from around 1966 or so. Yashica has never officially named these guys so we’re assigning them names just to make identification easier.

Recently this version popped up for sale in Japan and although we didn’t purchase him I’d like to at least show another side of this collectible figurine.

YSB 35

All three of these versions were made in Japan by Modern Plastics during the 1960s. The football guy wearing number 35 was more than likely promoting Yashica’s line of 35mm cameras but little else is know about him. He is…

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Rare Nicca lens cap – 1958

Nicca’s one-off lens cap for their last 35mm rangefinder camera mid-1958. The cap fits the Nikkor-H 5cm f/2 lens that was pretty much the standard lens for Nicca. The Nicca in the background with the traditional cap is my 3-S.


BTW, the black cap is made from brass and weighs 12 grams whereas the silver cap is aluminum and weighs 10 grams.

The distinctive all caps block lettering style of this black cap was a major departure from Nicca’s traditional silver script style which was presented in the spirit of Leica. You can see in the ad below that it matches the style of the name on the top plate of the camera.

III-L(large) 1

This ad (above) is from Mikio Awano’s article in the September 1978 edition of Japanese magazine, Camera Collectors’ News. The magazine’s text at the bottom translates as “Nicca III L, 1958 September, Asahi Camera”. For more about this interesting camera, please visit my good friend Paul Sokk’s excellent site on Nicca.


The Nicca III-L was the last camera made by Nicca before their acquisition by Yashica in early 1958. Below is an example of the style of the last box.

nicca III-L box set

Carol and I do not have an example of the Nicca III-L in our collection. They are super hard to find, extremely rare actually so very few show up on auction sites. If you know of someone who has one please have them contact us as we would be interested in obtaining one.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit our camera shop at

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 © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashica 635 – shoot 6×6 cm and 35 mm all in one TLR

Back in 1958 (May-June) Yashica released or introduced the inventive model 635 twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera to the export markets. It would be a short while before the camera would make its debut in Japan.

yashica 635 brochure close

The only film it couldn’t shoot was movie film!


This one is from one of the first batches of cameras made in June 1958. Its serial number puts it at the 231st made.  It was purchased new by the original owner at the RAF Changi base in Singapore.


Close-up view of the 35 mm conversion kit that originally came with the camera.


A general idea of how to install the 35 mm film cartridge and kit.



A gem from 1958.

As Carol and I continue to downsize our camera collection we’ve made this camera and kit available in our online camera shop at

If you’re looking to get into medium-format film photography and still want to use 35 mm film to make color transparencies (slides) this is a perfect combo camera to invest in.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to hit us with an offer if you’re so inclined. Chris & Carol

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 © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Happy SUNday! – Yashica Cousins

Yashica’s advertising figurine (doll?) from the early 1960s. Officially nameless but I’ve tagged him with “Sailor Boy” for obvious reasons.


My camera shop display sized (20 cm) Yashica “Sailor Boy”. This one was still in its sealed plastic bag and original box from Modern Plastics of Japan.

yashica sailor boy big

Another dealer display model (not mine) of Yashica’s “Sailor Boy” – this one looks as though he’s been in a bar fight in Tokyo!

I’m not sure which one was first but my guess is that the “tough guy” version may have been a prototype as I’ve never seen another one for sale in all my years of collecting Yashica branded items.

Have a great day y’all! – Chris

I’ve listed some neat items in my camera shop at – pop on over and check it out!

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 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 (, 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.

yashima flex

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.

yashica suwa 1956

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.

yashica suwa factory

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.

yashica suwa

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


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).


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.


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)

yashica factory site Capture

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!



Rare Yashica ‘Happi Coat’ from the 1960s

Carol and I have decided to start cutting back on our extensive collection of mostly Yashica “stuff”. Some of the items we’ll be listing rarely come up for purchase and are in some cases, the only known examples in existence.

This item, the Yashica ‘Happi Coat’ was made in Japan around the mid-1960s to coincide with Yashica’s new line of electronic cameras. The advertising phrase, “Pioneer in Electronic Photography” became more widely known as Yashica included it in almost every advertisement and brochure. As we understand the origins of this coat, Yashica provided it to salespeople to wear while demonstrating Yashica cameras in US camera stores. I know of only one size – something of a large-medium-large that was designed to fit a majority of wearers. If you were larger than that the happi coat could be left open and worn without the belt. It’s made from a heavyweight high-quality cotton and is very vibrant. The silk screening is sharp and colorful too. Only a slight hint of some discolorations are noted on the fabric. More detailed pictures can be found in our Etsy Shops. By the way, our “model” is about 5′ 9″ tall as a point of reference.


It kinda looks like something Doc would have dressed Marty up in for the Back to the Future movies.




This wonderful coat can be seen in more detail in our Etsy Shops.

It’s also available at

Stay in touch as we endeavor to list most of our collection by the end of the summer (well by the end of fall at least).

Thanks for stopping by!

Chris and Carol ^.^

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 © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Fantasy Shot – A Yashica in a Tokyo camera store window – 1964

Two of our most popular images on our Flickr page. Both were featured in “Explore”.

yashica j5 store front

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yashica flickr pentamatic

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Japan and the summer Olympic Games held in Tokyo.

Yashica’s latest in their popular J-series line of SLRs as it would have appeared in a Tokyo camera store window in 1964, possibly in Shibuya or Shinjuku.

The world was coming to Japan for the Olympics and Japan was ready to show the world its best technology and design. The Tokaido Shinkansen made its inaugural run from Tokyo on October 1st and Japan and its technology never looked back.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit our online store at for some great cameras and stuff!

C&C ^.^

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 © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

No Longer ‘YashicaChris’ – now Chris and Carol

We’ve decided to change the names on our blog to better represent ourselves ^.^


We are Chris and Carol and we thank our many followers and the many visitors to our little blog – we had nearly 28,000 views in 2017 and that just blows our minds! Yes, we’re die-hard Mets fans. If you’re gonna root for a team you better be in it for the long haul – through the ups and downs, good times and bad.

We’re about to celebrate 44 years of marriage! Woo Hoo us!

Thanks for sticking with our blog and showing us some love!

All the best to our great readers!

C&C ^.^

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 © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Cute or uncomfortable by today’s standards?

Is this image from a mid 1960s Yashica camera instruction booklet simply cute or does it make you feel a tad uncomfortable?

Is it a fun reminder of how the world was in 1965 – a bit “western obsessed”? Was it a little out of line even then? If this image were to be posted to a social media site today, what would the reaction be?


The original full context image from the booklet.

Weigh in if you’d like. We’d like to know your feelings.

Thanks, Chris and Carol




Twin-lens Reflex… a peek inside.

From an August 1963 sales brochure from Yashica (Printed in Japan). An excellent article we think. Of course Yashica produced twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras well into the late 1980s so they would be considered experts (one would think).



Also known today (more so) as medium format. An inexpensive way to get into medium format film photography, Yashica made enough TLRs over the decades that there is an ample supply of well made Yashicas available online. Budding film photographers should be able to experiment with that format without breaking the bank.

The Yashica model A is a great first choice as it is one of the most widely available and simplest to “master”. Less stuff to break or need adjustment. Another good model is the Yashica Mat-EM (1964). It has a built-in light meter that doesn’t require a battery to operate. The meters can fail over time so be sure to ask the seller about it first and if you’re looking at one in person, then check it against a meter from a phone app.

The Yashica-Mat 124G is the last model. Usually still very expensive but has a meter and requires a battery. The good news is that they are still fixable if something fails (they all are but our point is that they’re the newest out there).

The Yashica-D… well, we’ve never had much luck but others do and they are good cameras. The Yashica-Mat is another common camera and has a crank winder.

Give it a try. Shooting in squares is a challenge but fun!

Thanks for your visit.