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Bikōdō (美光堂) was a Japanese distributor and manufacturer of cameras and leaf shutters, from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. It was related to the manufacturer Mori Seisakusho.

Prewar and wartime period Edit

As early as 1937, Bikōdō was mentioned as the distributor of the Reex 6×9 folder,[1] a camera that was perhaps made by Mori Seisakusho.

During World War II, the Bikōdō company was based in Sakamoto, Tokyo.[2] In a government inquiry on Japanese camera production, it was mentioned as the maker of shutters called Compur and Rapid Compur, copies of the corresponding German models.[3] These shutters were notably mounted on the Rollekonter 6×6 TLR by Mori. They have a round MB logo on the front plate; these initials might stand for Mori and Bikōdō. A similar logo also appears on the earlier Light shutter or its Rosen name variant, probably indicating a common origin.

Postwar period Edit

It is said that the company suffered some damage from the aerial bombings at the end of World War II.[4] It soon distributed the Bikor-Flex, another 6×6 TLR by Mori, revised version of the wartime Rollekonter; this was one of the first Japanese TLR cameras available on the market.

Bikōdō probably absorbed Mori Seisakusho c.1949. In late 1949, the company was known as Bikōdō Seisakusho (美光堂製作所, meaning Bikōdō Works) and released the Superflex 6×6 TLR, again based on the Rollekonter, continuation of Mori's camera line. In 1951, the company also announced the Tenar Six, a 6×6 folder with unusual characteristics. From 1951 to 1953, Bikōdō Seisakusho was based in Kami-Negishi, Tokyo.[5] All trace of the company is lost after that date.

Cameras Edit

Distributed by Bikōdō Edit

Made by Bikōdō Seisakusho Edit

Shutters Edit

Notes Edit

  1. Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.343 (item 320), after a column in Asahi Camera September 1937.
  2. The exact address was Tōkyō-to Shitaya-ku Sakamoto 1–3–2 (東京都下谷区坂本1–3–2). Source: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras").
  3. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter items 18-Q-4 and 18-R-9.
  4. Lewis, p.59.
  5. The exact address was Tōkyō-to Taitō-ku Kami-Negishi 60 (東京都台東区上根岸60). Source: advertisements reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, pp.141–2 and 149.

Bibliography Edit

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