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Sakura Palace

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The Sakura Palace Hand Camera (さくらパレース手提暗函) or Palace Hand Camera (パレス手提暗函)[1] is a Japanese folding camera made by Rokuoh-sha, the manufacturing branch of Konishi (predecessor of Konica). It was reportedly released in June 1908.[2]

Origin Edit

Some people question the origin of the Sakura Palace and suggest that it was actually a rebadged imported camera.[3] However one advertisement for the Sakura Palace apparently says that it was "made by Konishi Honten in Tokyo, Nihonbashi".[4]

Description Edit

The camera takes pictures on both tefuda-size (8×10.5cm) plates and rollfilm, presumably 118 film.[5] The illustrations indicate that the camera consists of two parts: a regular plate camera and a large rollfilm holder into which the main body is inserted.[6] The main camera has a front standard made of two cylindrical masts, a brilliant finder perched atop the right-hand mast, a handle on the right-hand side, and a standing leg under the folding bed. It seems that two cases were provided, one for the camera alone with some plate holders, and the other for the camera with the rollfilm holder attached. At least one illustration shows double extension bellows driven by a wheel on the photographer's right.

Documents Edit

An advertisement by Konishi Honten mentions two models: No.1 (壹號) and No.2 (貳號), and says that No.2 is distinguished by its double extension bellows.[7] The following versions are listed:

body version No.1 No.2
lens and shutter
Carl Zeiss Tessar Ser.IIb No.4 lens,
Compound shutter
¥155 ¥185
Carl Zeiss Tessar Ser.IIb No.4 lens,
Auto shutter
¥140 ¥150
Bausch & Lomb Symmetrical lens,
Auto shutter
¥80 _

No surviving example of the Sakura Palace is known. This camera is however historically significant because it was certainly the first Japanese camera taking rollfilm.

Notes Edit

  1. The name is given as Sakura Parēsu Tesage Anbako (さくらパレース手提暗函) in the advertisement reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and as Paresu Tesage Anbako (パレス手提暗函) in the advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha. The Roman name "Palace" is inferred from the katakana パレース or パレス, but it is not confirmed by original documents. The phrase tesage anbako (手提暗函) is rendered as "Hand Camera" in the Konishi catalogue dated December 1911. In modern sources, it is often translated as "Portable Camera" and the camera called "Sakura Palace Portable" or "Palace Portable". The Japanese word anbako literally means "dark box"; it was modeled after "camera obscura" and was used for cameras until around the 1910s.
  2. Lewis, p.20, and chronology from the official company history Shashin to tomo ni hyaku-nen, reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10. The date is simply given as 1908 in the chronology at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha. Lewis, p.33, says 1907, probably by mistake.
  3. Lewis, p.20, where the same doubts are expressed about the Sakura Reflex Prano, Sakura Honor and Midg.
  4. Advertisement reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10: 東京日本橋小西本店製 (hardly legible).
  5. Advertisement reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10, and Lewis, p.33.
  6. Illustrations reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha. One of them also appears in the advertisement reproduced in Tanaka, p.94 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.10.
  7. Advertisement reproduced in this page at R. Konishi Rokuoh-sha.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

In Japanese:

Konishiroku prewar and wartime cameras (edit)
plate hand cameras stereo hand cameras strut folders box telephoto SLR
Idea (original) | Idea A | Idea B | Idea Snap | Idea No.1 | Idea (metal) | Lily (original) | Lily (horizontal) | Lily (metal) | Tropical Lily | Noble | Ohca | Sakura Palace | Sakura Pocket Prano | Sakura Prano Idea Binocular | Sakura Binocular Prano Minimum Idea | Idea Spring | Korok Champion | Cherry | Sakura Army | Sakura Honor | Sakura Navy Idea Telephoto Idea Reflex (1910 and 1911) | Idea Reflex (1932) | Neat Reflex | Sakura Reflex Prano
rollfilm folders box or collapsible TLR
Pearlette | Special Pearlette | B Pearlette | Pearl (for plates and rollfilm) | Pearl No.2 | Pearl (Year 8) | Baby Pearl | Semi Pearl | Sakura Palace Record | Sakura (box) | Sakura (bakelite) Sakura-flex

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