PhotoHistory 1960s

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Chronology of Japanese photography 1960-1969.

Researched and compiled by Philbert Ono

1960 (Showa 35)

The Polaroid Land 120 instant camera is introduced. Manufactured by Yashica Co. under contract with Polaroid Corp., it is the first instant camera made in Japan.

The Konica F camera has the fastest SLR shutter speed at 1/2000 sec. and the world's first focal-plane shutter with metal curtains. It a built-in exposure meter (selenium photocell).

Commercial Photo magazine starts publication.

Camera imports are liberalized.

Rioting against the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty occurs at the National Diet.

1961 (Showa 36)

NAGAO Yasushi of the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper becomes the first Japanese to win the Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the Oct. 1960 murder of Asanuma Inejiro, the Japan Socialist Party chairman.

Eastman Kodak introduces its very successful line of Kodak Carousel slide projectors which used a round tray for 80 slides.

1962 (Showa 37)

Japan displaces West Germany as the world's top producer of cameras.

1963 (Showa 38)

Nippon Kogaku introduces the underwater Nikonos camera, the first in the world dedicated to underwater photography not requiring an underwater housing. It could be used to a depth of 160 feet.

Kodak Instamatic Cameras are introduced with easy-loading film cartridges. They bring photography into the hands of many more amateurs, kids and adults alike.


1964 (Showa 39)

The Pentax SP is introduced, the first SLR camera with a through-the-lens exposure system. Semi-automatic exposure control soon became popular with pro photographers. TTL exposure systems are now found in virtually all SLR cameras.

ARAKI Nobuyoshi becomes the first winner of the now prestigious Taiyo-sho Award for his photo essay called Satchin.

The Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train starts service between Tokyo and Osaka. Picture postcards of the bullet train streaking in front Mt. Fuji become a modern classic.

The Tokyo Olympiad is held. The event greatly boosts sports photography in Japan. The memorable promotional poster (shown here) showing track runners dashing from the starting line was taken by HAYASAKI Osamu who was then forever associated with that image.

1965 (Showa 40)

The first Japanese cameras incorporating electronic shutters are introduced. They include the Yashica Electro Half, Olympus 35 EM, and Olympus 35 LE.

Canon's Canonet QL 17 compact camera is the world's first camera with a Quick Loading feature for 35mm film. In the following year, Canon U.S.A. Inc. is established in the U.S.

1966 (Showa 41)

SAWADA Kyoichi wins the Pulitzer Prize for his "Escape to Safety" photos of the Vietnam War. He is later killed on the battlefield.

The Beatles perform at the Budokan in Tokyo. ASAI Shimpei is the official photographer allowed access to their hotel rooms, etc. The photos are published in a book and later reproduced in 1995 in a book called "The Beatles in Tokyo 1966," published by The Japan Times.

1967 (Showa 42)

The Pentax Gallery, a camera museum, opens.

A revision of the copyright law sets the copyright for photographs effective for 12 years.

1968 (Showa 43)

The Yashica Lynx 5000 E was the first camera to employ ICs (integrated circuits).

PROVOKE magazine is started by OKADA Takahiko, TAKI Koji, NAKAHIRA Takuma, TAKANASHI Yutaka, and MORIYAMA Daido.

In Sept., Canon discontinues the Canon 7s, its last traditional rangefinder camera. SLR cameras, Canonets, Cine cameras, and office machines take over as its mainstream products.

Japan's Gross National Product becomes the second largest in the world after the U.S.

1969 (Showa 44)

The Asahi Pentax 6x7 medium-format camera is introduced, the first 6x7cm format camera in the world to feature an eye-level pentaprism. Looking like an oversized 35mm SLR camera, the camera controls were in familiar positions.

Canon Camera Co., Inc. changes its name to Canon Inc. since over half of its sales comprised of non-camera products.

Next: PhotoHistory 1970s

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