Sunday, November 9, 2008

Japanese Copier Companies & WWII

Before Ricoh was Ricoh, it was known as Riken Kankoshi Co., Ltd. was formed to produce positive sensitive paper, used to develop film. Riken also developed computer-designed lenses originated during World War II.

Before Canon was Canon, it was known as Precision Optical Industry., LTD, not much here for them, all I could get was that they were still a camera manufacturer.


In 1940 Precision Optical made a significant contribution to Japanese medical imaging technology when it developed the nation's first indirect x-ray camera, which played a major role in preventing spread of tuberculosis in Japan. When Japan went to war with the United States, the Japanese economy was entirely given over to supporting the military.

The company barely survived World War II. It was unable to manufacture its mainstay 35-millimeter cameras for the duration of the war, and only Mitarai's tireless efforts kept it afloat in the economic desolation that followed Japan's surrender in 1945.

Before Minolta was Minolta, it was known as Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha , alot here.

Produced Binoculars and Other Optical Products During World War II

In September 1940 Japan joined Germany and Italy in the Tripartite Pact, which divided Asia and Africa into spheres of influence. Japan's was to be Southeast Asia. As it became clear that war was ahead, Japanese military planners determined to develop precision optical equipment for range-finding, navigation, and bombing aids.

During World War II, when the U.S. military used electronics to track enemy ships and aircraft, the Japanese chose optics. Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko produced high-powered binoculars and other optical instruments with wartime uses. Demand was so high that it opened the Itami plant in 1942 solely to manufacture optical glass. In another document another company was Itami Glass Company and was founded under the IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy), they produced Binoculars and range finders.

Before Konica was Konica, it was known as Konishiroku Honten Co., Ltd. a lot here also.

Military Production: 1930s--44

In 1936 the company was registered as a publicly owned corporation with the name Konishiroku Honten Company. In 1938, as the likelihood of war increased, the Japanese government placed restrictions on cameras produced for consumers, and Konishiroku directed its major efforts to military products. It developed two types of ultra-compact aerial cameras for the Japanese Army in 1939 and 1940. In 1940, five years after Kodak introduced its Kodachrome color film, Konishiroku unveiled its Sakura natural color, Japan's first color film.

Rokuemon Sugiura VIII, grandson of the company's founder, became president of Konishiroku in 1941. Two years later, the company changed its name to Konishiroku Photo Industry Company, and established a research center. In 1944, under an industrial readjustment order, Konishiroku amalgamated with Showa Photo Industry.

Toshiba since 1939: The company's pre-World War II Japanese innovations included fluorescent lamps and radar.

During the late 1940s, Japan rapidly passed from a period of self-isolation and self-reliance into a period of largely benevolent occupation and advocacy. With the assistance of the Japanese government and its citizens, the American Occupation Authority instituted social and economic reforms, and poured resources into post-war financial markets.

Toshiba since 1939:

In 1945 the company's Yodobashi factory, warehouse, and research center were damaged by U.S. air raids. At the end of the war, in September, all factories that had been taken over for military production reverted back to the manufacture of consumer goods.

Panasonic before it was Panasonic was known as Matsushita Denki Sangyo :

Japan at this time was undergoing a severe political transformation as a right-wing militarist clique rose to power. The group won support from many industrialists, including Konosuke Matsushita, because it advocated the establishment of a Japanese-led pan-Asian economic community promising great profits for Japanese companies. As a leading manufacturer of electrical devices, Matsushita benefited greatly from the government's massive armament program. It soon gained markets in Japanese-controlled Taiwan, Korea, and Manchuria, and prospered during the beginning of World War II.

After the Battle of Midway, it was clear not only that Japan would lose the war, but also that the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere promised by the militarists would never come to pass. Matsushita, locked in an uneasy partnership with the government, saw its fortunes deteriorate with Japan's.

Hitachi since 1920:

The ascendancy of the Japanese military government in the 1930s forced some changes at Hitachi. Although Odaira struggled to maintain corporate independence, his company was nonetheless pressured into manufacturing war material, including radar and sonar equipment for the Imperial Navy. Odaira, however, was successful in preventing Hitachi from manufacturing actual weapons.

World War II and its aftermath devastated the company. Many of its factories were destroyed by Allied bombing raids, and after the war, American occupational forces tried to disband Hitachi altogether. Founder Odaira was removed from the company. Nevertheless, as a result of three years of negotiations, Hitachi was permitted to maintain all but 19 of its manufacturing plants.




1 comment:

Greg Walters said...

Great Post.

Have you looked into Oce before the war and after?

Xerox may not have been Xerox if not for WWII getting in the way of "copy press"...