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Ako folders

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Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
folding
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Postwar models ->
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The company Ako Shōkai sold 4.5×6 folders under three different names in 1941 and 1942.

Semi Ace and Semi Ako Edit

Only one picture of the Ako folders has been observed so far, probably corresponding to the Semi Ace (the Semi Metax was made by another company and was certainly different). The camera is a copy of the Ikonta. There is a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate, with a body release on the left and a folding bed release on the right, as seen by the photographer holding the camera horizontally. The advance knob is at the bottom right and the back is hinged to the left.

The Semi Ace (セミエース) was mentioned in the official list of set prices compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, in four versions called "Semi Ace I" (¥62), "Semi Ace II" (¥62), "Semi Ace III" (¥62) and "Semi Ace IV" (¥62), with no further detail.[1] The Semi Ace II and III were again in a similar price list dated November 1941, where they were attributed to Kōsoku Kikan.[2]

The Semi Ace was advertised in Japanese magazines from March 1941.[3] In a March 1942 advertisement,[4] it was offered with an Ako Anastigmat 75/4.5 lens and a 5–200, T, B shutter for ¥86. Kokusan kamera no rekishi mentions other lens names: メール (mēru) and Hitonar[5], and a shutter name: ダレチ (darechi), probably found in other advertisements.

The Semi Ako (セミアコー) was only advertised in December 1941.[6] There was a choice of two lens and shutter combinations:

  • an Ako Anastigmat 75/4.5 lens and a 5–200, T, B shutter for ¥74;
  • an Ako Anastigmat 75/3.5 lens and a 1–300, T, B shutter for ¥98.

The picture of this advertisement is the same as in the March 1942 advertisement cited above. The name "Semi Ako" is perhaps a mistake, and the two versions perhaps correspond to the Semi Ace and Semi Metax.

Two authorized dealers are mentioned in the advertisements: Nihon Shōkai and Mizuno Shashinki-ten.

Semi Metax Edit

The Semi Metax (セミメタックス) was mentioned in the November 1941 price list cited above, where it was attributed to a company called Ichikawa Seisakusho.[7] It was offered together with the Semi Ace in the March 1942 advertisement cited above,[8] with an Ako Anastigmat 75/3.5 lens and a 1–300, T, B shutter for ¥114.

Notes Edit

  1. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, sections 3A, 4A, 6A, 7A.
  2. "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 3, sections 4A and 6A.
  3. Advertisements listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.334.
  4. Advertisement published in Hōdō Shashin, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.60 and 99.
  5. The Hitonar lens was made by Kajiro Kōgaku, later Gojō then Kokusaku.
  6. Advertisement published in Hōdō Shashin, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.58. No other advertisement is listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.334.
  7. "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 3, section 7A.
  8. Advertisement published in Hōdō Shashin, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.60 and 99.

Bibliography Edit

  • Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Items 3, 28 and 284.
  • "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō" (カメラの公定価格官報発表, Official announcement of the set prices of the cameras), November 1941. Extract of a table listing Japanese camera production and setting the retail prices, reproduced in "Bebī Semi Fāsuto 'Kore ha bebī wo nanotta semi-ki da'" (ベビーセミファースト"これはベビーを名乗ったセミ機だ", Baby Semi First, 'this is a Semi camera called Baby'), an article by Furukawa Yasuo (古川保男) in Camera Collectors' News no. 277 (July 2000). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. P. 27. Type 3, sections 4A, 6A, 7A.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku" (国産写真機の公定価格, Set prices of the Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of October 25, 1940 and setting the retail prices from December 10, 1940. Published in Asahi Camera January 1941 and reproduced in Shōwa 10—40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10〜40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935—1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Pp.108—9. Type 3, sections 3A, 4A, 6A, 7A.

The Ako folders are not listed in Sugiyama.

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