Japanese Semi (4.5×6)
Prewar and wartime models (edit)
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The Gaica (ガイカ) is a Japanese 4.5×6 folder made and sold from 1940 by Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō (today Ricoh), in the Ōji plant.[1]

Description Edit

The Gaica is a vertical folder, copy of the Nettar with straight folding struts. There is a folding optical finder in the middle of the top plate, and a button on the right to release the folding bed. The advance key is at the bottom right. The back is hinged to the left and contains two red windows at the top, protected by a horizontally sliding cover. The name Gaica is embossed in calligraphic letters in the front leather.

Evolution Edit

Z99 Gaica Riken Folding camera 1940

Riken Kogaku Kogyo 1940 WW2 Model " Gaica" model 1 folding camera. Cleaned and serviced by Eastwestphoto. The lens is a 7.5cm gaica Anastigmat F:4.5 in three elements, for a front cell focus design. The shutter was a Imported German Vario non cocking T,B, 25~100. Rare camera only TWO known in the world?

Original Gaica Edit

The Gaica was first announced in advertisements by Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō for the Olympic Four, dated March, April and June 1940,[2] with a Prontor II shutter giving T, B, 1–175 speeds and a 75/4.5 lens. In these documents, the camera is only announced for future release (予告); no price is indicated and no picture is provided. It seems that the camera was never released with an imported Prontor II. The features of this version anticipate the later Gaica II with Gaica shutter (T, B, 1–175).

The original Gaica (ガイカ)[3] has a Vario shutter. The shutter plate is inscribed VARIO at the top and has the AGC logo (for Gauthier) at the bottom. The 25, 50, 100, B, T speed settings are selected by an index at the top, and the release lever is located on the shutter housing itself. The lens is a Gaica Anastigmat 7.5cm f/4.5.

This model of the Gaica was offered in an advertisement dated August 1940,[4] for ¥98 — case ¥7 extra. It was listed in the official price list compiled in October 1940 and published in January 1941, for ¥80,[5] and it was pictured in an advertisement dated March 1941.[6] It was still in the official price list dated November 1941.[7]

At least one surviving example is known, pictured in an article in Kurashikku Kamera Senka.[8]

Gaica II Edit

The Gaica II (ガイカⅡ型)[9] has an added body release and a Gaica shutter (T, B, 1–175) made by Riken.[10] The shutter plate is marked GAICA at the bottom and has an RKK logo on the right (for Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō). The 175–1, B, T speed settings are inscribed on the shutter plate in that order.

The Gaica II is mentioned in the January 1941 official price list cited above, for ¥88,[11] and appears in the November 1941 price list too.[12] The camera was advertised by Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō in the January 1941 issue of Asahi Camera, where it is presented as a new model.[13] In the document, no price is indicated and the shutter is described as "of the Prontor II type" (プロンターⅡ型). The camera was pictured in an advertisement by Riken in the February 1941 issue of Gakusei no Kagaku, with no further detail.[14]

In the March and April 1941 issues of Asahi Camera, the Gaica II was advertised by Doi Shōten, along with other cameras made by Riken.[15] The price is given as ¥88, with ¥6.50 extra for the case.

The camera appears as the "Semi Gaica" in the April 1943 government inquiry listing the Japanese camera production.[16] In this document, the lens is given as a three-element Gaica 75/4.5 made by Riken.[17]

An actual example of the Gaica II has been observed with a K.O.L. Gaica Anastigmat 7.5cm f/4.5, certainly made by Kajiro Kōgaku or its successors Gojō or Kokusaku, and a regular Gaica shutter.[18]

Name Edit

Gaica can be written 凱歌 and then it means "victory song", but in the advertisements observed it is written ガイカ in katakana writing. During the war period, Riken used such "patriotic" names, as well as names reminding Japan's alliance with Germany. The Leica was also well known and highly regarded in Japan at the time, and the similarity in pronunciation would have been obvious.

Notes Edit

  1. Made by Riken: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 61. Ōji plant: Arimura, p.6 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14. This page of the Ricoh official website says that the camera was supplied by a subcontractor, perhaps by mistake.
  2. Advertisement in Asahi Camera March 1940, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104, advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1940, p.A86, reproduced in this article and in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.64, and advertisement in Asahi Camera June 1940, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.64.
  3. This model is called "Semi Gaica" in Tanaka, pp.9 and 17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, and in this page of the Ricoh official website, but it is simply called "Gaica" in the original advertisements.
  4. Advertisement in Asahi Camera, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.65.
  5. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, section 3B.
  6. Advertisement in Gakusei no Kagaku, reproduced in Gochamaze.
  7. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, section 3B.
  8. Tanaka, p.17 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14. A small copy of the picture is reproduced in this page of the Ricoh official website.
  9. This model is called "Gaica Semi" in McKeown, p.333.
  10. Made by Riken: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), shutter item 18-P-11.
  11. "Kokusan shashinki no kōtei kakaku", type 3, section 6A.
  12. "Kamera no kōtei kakaku kanpō happyō", November 1941, type 3, section 6A.
  13. Advertisement in Asahi Camera January 1941, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.65.
  14. Advertisement in Gakusei no Kagaku February 1941, reproduced at Gochamaze.
  15. Advertisement in Asahi Camera March 1941, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.104, and advertisement in Asahi Camera April 1941, p.509.
  16. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), item 61.
  17. "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"), lens item Lc14.
  18. Example pictured in this page of Gillman's blog. On this particular example the shutter plate is rotated 90° to the left, surely because it has been dismantled and badly remounted.

Bibliography Edit

Original documents Edit

  • Asahi Camera. Advertisement by Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō in April 1940, p.A86.
  • Asahi Camera. Advertisement by Doi Shōten in April 1941, p.509.
  • "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 3B and 6A.
  • "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7. Item 61.
  • "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 3B and 6A.

Recent sources Edit

The Gaica is not listed in Sugiyama.

Links Edit

In Japanese:

Asahi Bussan and Riken prewar and wartime cameras (edit)
rigid or collapsible
Vest Adler | Gokoku | Semi Kinsi | Letix | Olympic | New Olympic | Regal Olympic | Semi Olympic | Super Olympic | Vest Olympic | Riken No.1 | Ricohl | Roico | Seica | Zessan
folders pseudo TLR TLR
Semi Adler | Adler III | Adler A | Adler B | Adler C | Adler Four | Adler Six | Gaica | Heil | Kinsi Chukon Ref Ricohflex | Ricohflex B

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