The braided cord or string used on these miniature binoculars is of a type traditionally used on many things in Japan over a long period of time. To give an example, this old divided case or inrō is for carrying herbal medicines and has a netsuke of a musician summoning bats. It was given to me on a trip to Japan by some distant relatives, and has a similar cord to that used on the binoculars, in order to hang it through a hakama or sash by the netsuke or carved button.

1969 was the 50th anniversary of the founding of Asahi Optical Co. Ltd., also known as Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushiki-geisha, also known as 旭光学工業株式会社 . To recognize this occasion, Asahi Pentax produced a 6x25 reverse porro prism “M” type binocular with 50th anniversary markings.

Text Box: VINTAGE MINIATURE BINOCULARS

Japanese External Reverse Porro Prism Binoculars. On Line MUSEUM

 

- GERMAN ORIGINS #1

- GERMAN ORIGINS #2

- GERMAN ORIGINS #3

- GERMAN ORIGINS #4

- GERMAN ORIGINS #5

- GERMAN ORIGINS #6

- JAPANESE ORIGINS #1

- JAPANESE ORIGINS #2

- JAPANESE ORIGINS #3

- JAPANESE ORIGINS #4

- JAPANESE ORIGINS #5

- JAPANESE ORIGINS #6

- JAPANESE ORIGINS #7

- INTRODUCTION #1

- INTRODUCTION #2

- DISTRIBUTION #1

- DISTRIBUTION #2

- DISTRIBUTION #3

- DISTRIBUTION #4

- DISTRIBUTION #5

- DISTRIBUTION #6

- DISTRIBUTION #7

 - DISTRIBUTION #8

- DISTRIBUTION #9

- FUN ANALYZING BRANDS #1

- FUN ANALYZING BRANDS #2

- FUN ANALYZING BRANDS #3

- FUN ANALYZING BRANDS #4

- BINOCULARS BY BRAND A-B

- BINOCULARS BY BRAND C-G

- BINOCULARS BY BRAND H-M

- BINOCULARS BY BRAND N-Q

- BINOCULARS BY BRAND R-S

- BINOCULARS BY BRAND T-Z

- PHOTO GALLERY #1

- PHOTO GALLERY #2

- PHOTO GALLERY #3

- PHOTO GALLERY #4

- PHOTO GALLERY #5

- PHOTO GALLERY #6

- PHOTO GALLERY #7

- PHOTO GALLERY #8

- PHOTO GALLERY #9

- PHOTO GALLERY # 10

- PHOTO GALLERY # 11

- PHOTO GALLERY # 12

- VINTAGE ADVERTISING #1

- VINTAGE ADVERTISING #2

- VINTAGE ADVERTISING #3

- VINTAGE ADVERTISING #4

- VINTAGE ADVERTISING #5

- VINTAGE ADVERTISING #6

- VINTAGE ADVERTISING #7

- VINTAGE ADVERTISING #8

- ORIGINAL BOXES #1

- ORIGINAL BOXES #2

- CAN YOU REPAIR THESE?

- REPAIR SEIZED OCULARS IF

- COLLIMATE AND REPAIR CF

- MORE REPAIRS #1

- MORE REPAIRS #2

- MORE REPAIRS #3

- IDENTIFY THIS

- SWAP SHOP & MISC

- MISC #1

- MISC #2

- BIG & SMALL #1

- BIG & SMALL #2

- BIG & SMALL #3

- BIG & SMALL #4

- BIG & SMALL #5

- BIG & SMALL #6

- BIG & SMALL #7

- BIG & SMALL #8

- OTHER BINOCULARS #1

- OTHER BINOCULARS #2

- OTHER BINOCULARS #3

- OTHER BINOCULARS #4

- OTHER BINOCULARS #5

- OTHER BINOCULARS #6

- OTHER BINOCULARS #7

- OTHER BINOCULARS #8

- OTHER BINOCULARS #9

- OTHER BINOCULARS #10

- OTHER BINOCULARS #11

- OTHER BINOCULARS #12

- OTHER BINOCULARS #13

- OTHER BINOCULARS #14

- OTHER BINOCULARS #15

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #01

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #02

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #03

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #04

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #05

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #06

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #07

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #08

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #09

- BINOCULAR CATALOGS #10

- DATA BINOCULARS BRANDS

- INDEX #1 (A-L)

- INDEX #2 (M-Z)

- JB JE MFGR. CODE LIST

- TRADEMARKED LOGOS

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ADAMS BINOCULARS 1957-1963

AETNA BINOCULARS 1956

ALOMA BINOCULARS 1956-1964* KI

AOCo BINO 1949-2002 (renamed Pentax 2002)

APEX BINOCULARS 1951-1974

ASANUMA BINOCULARS 1974-1976* KI

ATCO BINOCULARS 1956-1977

BARSKA BINOCULARS 1994-PRESENT *TM

BELFONT BINOCULARS 1969-2001 *TM

BELMONT BINOCULARS 1966-1972

BINOLUX BINOCULARS 1954-PRESENT *TM

BRENTWOOD BINOCULARS 1965-1972

BURTON BINOCULARS 1954-1970

BUSHNELL BINOCULARS1949-PRESENT *HD

CARL SEITZ 1967* KI

CARL WETZLAR BINOCULARS 1952-1984

CENTURA BINOCULARS 1968-1971

C.E.Z. BINOCULARS 1952* KI

COLONIAL BINOCULARS 1967-1969

COMMODORE BINOCULARS 1972-? *TM

COMPASS BINOCULARS 1960-1977

CONDOR BINOCULARS 1956-1968

COPITAR BINOCULARS 1976-1977* KI

CORNELL BINOCULARS 1960* KI

CROWN BINOCULARS 1965-1976

CRYSTAL BINOCULARS 1951-1952* KI

DACOTE BINOCULARS 1952-1976

EDIXA BINOCULARS 1957-1985 *TM

EDNAR BINOCULARS 1987-PRESENT *TM

EIKOW BINOCULARS1967* KI

ELITE BINOCULARS 1960-1974

EMPIRE BINOCULARS 1959-1987

FATA MORGANA BINOCULARS 1920-1929 *KI

FOCAL BINOCULARS 1964-1991

GLANZ BINOCULARS 1955* KI

GOLD CREST BINOCULARS 1963-1985(TM) 1987

GOLD CUP BINOCULARS 1965-1989 *TM

GOLDEN GATE BINOCULARS 1966-1973

GRAND VIEW BINOCULARS 1966* KI

GREENKAT BINOCULARS (1966-1993) 1993?

HALINA BINOCULARS 1952-? *TM

HAMBLETONIAN BINOCULARS 1953-1960

HAMILTON BINOCULARS 1952-1963

HANSA BINOCULARS 1955 * KI

HARPERS 1968 * KI

HEDLER BINOCULARS 1961-1972 *HD

HERCULES BINOCULARS 1951* KI

HERTERS BINOCULARS1947-1981 *HD

HILTON BINOCULARS 1956-1959 * KI

HORIZON BINOCULARS 1965-1969 * KI

HOYA BINOCULARS 1956-1968

HY SCORE BINOCULARS 1970-1992 *TM

HURRICAINE BINOCULARS 1957-1975

JANA BINOCULARS 1963-1977

JASON BINOCULARS 1956-1998

JUPITER BINOCULARS (AOCo) 1954-1955 * KI

KALIMAR BINOCULARS 1956-1978, 1955- *TM

KANTO BINOCULARS 1967-1977

KING BINOCULARS 1974-1976* KI

KOMURA BINOCULARS 1980* KI

KORVETTE/ KORVETTES BINO. 1968-1975

LEGRAN BINOCULARS 1966-1974

LEMONT BINOCULARS 1952-1954

LENTAR BINO. 1966-1973,1977-1999 *TM

LICHTER BINOCULARS 1954* KI

LIMER BINOCULARS1962-1972

LUNA BINOCULARS 1954-1960

LUPINUS BINOCULARS 1950,1965-2000 *TM

LUXOR BINOCULARS 1952-1953* KI

MAGNA BINOCULARS 1949-1952

MANON BINOCULARS1964-2006 *TM

MAYFLOWER BINOCULARS 1954-1968 * KI

MIDGET BINOCULARS**1950-1951

MIKRON BINOCULARS 1921-PRESENT *HD

NIKON BINOCULARS *1988-PRESENT

OCEAN BINOCULARS 1958 * KI

OFUNA BINOCULARS *CA 1949?-1963

OMEGA BINOCULARS 1955-1969

PALOMAR BINOCULARS 1948-PRESENT

PAMEX BINOCULARS 1959-1960* KI

PATRICIAN BINOCULARS 1964* KI

PENTAX BINOCULARS 2002-PRESENT *HD

PETITE BINOCULARS 1954* KI

PLUM BINOCULARS 1951-1954 * KI

PRECISION BINOCULARS 1958-1959

PRESTIGE BINOCULARS 1957-1976

PRINZ BINOCULARS 1964-1989 *TM

QUEEN BINOCULARS 1957* KI

RAINBOW BINOCULARS 1954-1969

RALEIGH BINOCULARS 1965-1968* KI

REGENT BINO.1969-1972,1961–1996* TM 1992

REMINGTON BINOCULARS 1957-1977 * KI

REXINA BINOCULARS 1966-1968

ROSCO BINOCULARS 1955-1956* KI

S&A/SWIFT & ANDERSON BINO 1927-1959*

SANS & STREIFFE 1952-1976, 1958-2000 *TM

SAVOY BINOCULARS 1972* KI

SCOPE BINOCULARS 1955-1976

SELSI BINOCULARS 1957-1990

SIMOR BINOCULARS 1963-1998 *TM

To Assist in Determining the Date of Manufacture of Binoculars: When Various Brands of Binoculars are Observed in Public Advertising. Wenn verschiedene Marken der Ferngläser sind in öffentlichen Werbung Beobachtet : bei der Ermittlung der Herstellungsdatum des Fernglas -Assistent. Pour aider à Déterminer la Date de Fabrication des Jumelles : Lorsque Différentes Marques de jumelles sont Observés dans la Publicité Publique .Medverka till att Fastställa Tillverkningsdatum för Kikare : När Olika Märken av Kikare Observeras i Offentlig Reklam Para Ayudar a Determinar la Fecha de Fabricación de los prismáticos : Cuando Varias Marcas de los Prismáticos se Observan en Publicidad Pública. Per Aiutare a Determinare L’età del Binocolo in Miniatura, Quando Vengono Osservati Divesrsi machi nella Pubblicità Pubblica.

It is difficult to date Japanese binoculars. Dated catalogs and ads for a specific brand help. Since many brands were active for a limited time, observations of the years a brand appeared in advertising is helpful. Likewise dates of trademarks are helpful . Keep in mind that dates by observation are limited by what brands of binoculars were chosen to be advertised with a brand name by someone, and by what advertising mediums are accessible to search. Trademark data is limited to those brands someone chose to protect with a trademark, and the nature of the trademark (often the name or a particular logo or typeface). The product may have been actively sold long before a trademark was acquired. After a brand ceased to be actively marketed, it seemed a common practice for a trademark to have remained alive until it was rendered abandoned by default through non renewal. Keep in mind miniature binoculars models may be sold for only a portion of the time a brand was active. Generally the information below is a compilation of newspaper advertising, magazine advertising, catalogs, and trademark data, and is intended to provide an approximation of when binocular brands were being actively being sold, to aid collectors in dating items. No claim of accuracy is made, and all corrections are most welcome.

My OBSERVED Dates of Brand Advertising of binoculars (Non definitive and under construction) with trademark and catalog dates, given as first and last year observed. Corrections welcomed. Information applicable to all sizes of binoculars of the brand, and probably to telescopes of that brand.

Unless notated otherwise, based on advertising observations. The notation ( *TM ) means BASED ON TRADE MARK DATA. The notation (*HD ) means BASED ON NON-ADVERTISING HISTORICAL DATA. Notation (* KI ) means KNOWN INCOMPLETE DATE RANGE: ( XX date:) means termination date of brand owning entity. As with much research, disproportionate effort yields useful but modest amounts of data. The above information represents scrolling through hundreds of thousands of ads.

Tips on Determining the Age of Miniature Binoculars. Tipps zur Ermittlung Miniatur Fernglässer Alter. Conseils Relatifs à la Détermination Miniature Jumelles Age. Tips om Fastställande Miniature Kikare Âlder. Consejos para la Determinacion Miniature Prismáticos Edad. Suggerimenti per Determinare l’età Dei Binocoli in Miniature.

Dating miniature binoculars can be a task similar to herding cats. Success is far from certain, and the process is seldom straight forward. Here are some tips. If there is an Occupied Japan marking, one might think the binoculars were made between 1945-1952 (the occupation) or 1947-1949 (when the marking was required) but it is really 1948-1952 (arrival of importers to end of occupation). You can try to find your binoculars in a period catalog or advertisement such as in the “Vintage Advertising” or catalogs sections of this website. You might know someone with personal knowledge. Once in a while cases have dated inscriptions, or dated sales receipt. With research, you can sometimes find out when a brand or importer was actively in business, or changed names. Configuration gives some general clues. Rubber eye cups 1970’s on. Individual focus more likely 1950’s/1960’s. Center focus more likely 1960’s or later (with exceptions). Finally, the dates when a brand of binoculars was being actively sold or advertised creates a contextual time period (see the next section).

1951 Miniature Binoculars Advertisement

Ad of known date. (1951) Also mentions occupation. Werbung beksannter datum(1951). Publicité de date connue (1951).

Dated sales receipt. Kaufbelig. Ticket de caisse daté.

Dated catalogs or literature. Vom kataloge und literature. Catalogues ou la litérature ont daté.

Accessories with inscribed dates . Zubehör mit schriebrn termine. Accessoires avec des dates inscrits.

SIRUS  BINOCULARS1956

SKYLINE BINOCULARS 1951-1975

SOLAR BINOCULARS 1961-1971

SOLUS BINOCULARS1966-2010 *TM 2015

SOUTHERNER BINOCULARS 1955-1960

SPI-OPTEX BINOCULARS 1957-1986

SPORTSTER BINOCULARS 1956-1973

SKYLINE BINOCULARS 1951-1975

SKYMASTER BINOCULARS 1972-1973

STELLAR BINOCULARS 1958,1968-1990 *TM

ST MORITZ BINOCULARS 1951-1988 *TM

SUN SCOPE BINOCULARS 1951-1974

SUPER POWER BINOCULARS 1951-1973

SWIFT AND ANDERSON 1926-1959 *HD

SWIFT BINOCULARS1959-PRESENT *HD

TASCO BINOCULARS 1954-PRESENT

TECHNAR BINOCULARS 1959-1976

TELESAR BINOCULARS 1962-1974

TELSTAR BINOCULARS 1966-1975

THOROBRED BINOCULARS 1949-1966

TOSCO BINOCULARS 1961-1990

TOWER BINOCULARS 1949-1966

UNISCOPE BINOCULARS 1959* KI

VEGA BINOCULARS 1955-1961

WEGA BINOCULARS 1969* KI

WINDSOR BINOCULARS 1951-1957

YAMATAR BINOCULARS 1961-1970

YASHICA BINOCULARS 1969-1975

YOSHIDA BINOCULARS 1949-1966

ZENITH BINOCULARS 1954-1977

ZYKKOR 1981-2005 *TM

For binoculars: effectively 1948-1952.

Japanese Miniature Binoculars, The US Military, and Occupation of Japan. Japanische Miniaturferngläser, das Militär der Vereiengten Staaten, und die Besetzung von Japan. Les Jumelles Miniatures Japonaises, L’armee des États-Unis et L’occupation du Japon. Японская миниатюрная бинокли и a мериканских военных. 日本 のミニチュア双眼鏡、米軍、および MIOJ. Japanska Miniatyr Kikare, den Amerikanska  Militären, och MIOJ. Los prismáticos Japoneses en Miniatura, losEjército de los Estados Unidos,y la Ocupación de Japón . I Binocoli Giapponesi in Miniatura, I Militari degli Stati Uniti, e L’occupazione del Giapone.

1950 US distributor (Galef) catalog description for 6x15 Japanese “Midget” binoculars

Five to eight years after posters like the one at left were being distributed, US importers faced some resistance to the sale of Japanese made goods, particularly precision items like binoculars: previously derisively referred to as “japcrap”. It is interesting to see how this public relations challenge was addressed, including the use of intentionally misleading assertions of US military endorsement, or production supervision, helped by the fact the US military in Japan encouraged manufacture and the US government encouraged the importation of Japanese goods as being in the US national interest, which it probably was.

1951 retailer Klamath Falls Army Store (Wisconsin) newspaper ad

1950 US magazine ad for Japanese binoculars

After WWII, the United States occupied the main Japanese islands, commencing around August 28 1945. The entity “SCAP” (Supreme Command Allied Powers) governed Japan. SCAP was theoretically a consortium of the US, Britain, and the Soviet Union, but was effectively the US military. It had as many as 350,000 US occupation troops stationed in Japan at one period. Economic reconstruction was a primary goal, in part because of the high cost of supporting the damaged Japanese economy and infrastructure (the US provided $15.2 billion in assistance to Japan during the period, as calculated in 2005 adjusted dollars according to the Congressional Research Service). Japanese manufacture and the export of certain types of goods was strongly encouraged. According to Peter Abrams in Outline of Japanese Binocular Production “Japanese manufacturing and marketing businesses were permitted to deduct from their taxes 80 percent of their income from exports.” During the occupation period which lasted until Apr 28 1952, many products made in Japan for export were marked “occupied Japan” or “ M ade I n O ccupied J apan”.  These are now commonly referred to by the acronym as “ MIOJ ” items. SCAP governed by issuing directives (SCAPIN) to the Japanese government. The regulation that required occupied Japan markings on goods was SCAPIN 1535, of Feburary 20, 1947, signed by General McArthur. Subsequently SCAPIN 2061 of December 5, 1949 officially rescinded the marking requirements of SCAPIN 1535. (data cited per Peter Abrahams in The Outline of Japanese Binocular Production . But for the great majority of items intended for the US consumer market, which was by far the most affluent economy in the immediate post war period, US consumers were probably much more receptive to purchasing Japanese goods at the time if they were marked “made in occupied Japan”, with that implication of US military rule over Japan, and also perhaps conveying the impression that it was facilitating Japanese payment of war reparations to the US. While probably not intentioned as such, it functioned as a highly effective marketing strategy. As a result, MIOJ markings were still commonly being used after actually required and up until the military occupation actually ended in 1952. This is one of the reasons that one commonly encounters a pair of binoculars marked “made in occupied Japan” accompanied by a case marked “made in Japan” or “Japan”, probably reflecting the marking preferences in regards to the occupation by the two manufacturers in the period 1949-1952, when either marking was appropriate. A fair number of early post war versions of miniature binoculars of this type are encountered marked “occupied Japan” or “made in occupied Japan”, and it is very well documented that virtually all of the early post war Japanese binocular production went to the US consumer market. The fact that the US military was involved in trade decisions can be seen by the fact that David Bushnell could not get rifle scopes made in Japan for the US hunting market, though he very much wanted to do so, until the occupation ended, as SCAP prohibited making that item in Japan. As soon as the occupation ended, he had rifle scopes made in Japan and he distributed them in the USA. Items made in occupied Japan, including binoculars and cameras, are also sometimes encountered marked “ C.P.O .” or “ EP ”. Producing something in occupied Japan involved dealing with a myriad of US and Japanese agency approvals to obtain materials and to be allowed to manufacture approved goods on machinery and in factories certified not subject to seizure for war reparations. Because goods sold to directly to the occupying authority or it’s members or being exported received special tax exemption and materials procurement priority, CPO and EP markings most likely relate to that. Commonly cited interpretations for the CPO initials include “ C entral P urchasing O ffice”’ and “ C entral P rocessing O rganization”. The problem is that while various agencies within the Boeki Cho (Japanese Govt. Board of Trade) and within the SCAP Trade and Commerce and General Procurement Division fulfilled those general functions, there is no period documentation of any entities with those names. EP is sometimes interpreted as “ E xport P ermitted” or “ E xport P roduct”. My original research indicates that “ EP ’ almost certainly stands for “ E xport P roperty”, a defined state in US Customs Law (see the later US 26CFR1.993-3 for example). SCAPIN closely followed US precedents in setting up post WWII Japanese administration. Manufacturers were allowed to deduct 80% of taxes on export goods, so presence of export only marked product in the domestic Japanese market would indicate tax fraud. Taxation has always been a major factor and influence in the binoculars trade. Another influence of the US military on binoculars production is that the occupation troops actually stationed in Japan created sales demand for binoculars. Prior to the war binoculars were essentially luxury goods and were expensive. Now ordinary soldiers could afford them. According to Norman Stanley Roberts, there was a “pronounced desire” by members of the US occupation forces to acquire cameras and binoculars. (Japan: Economic and Commercial Conditions in Japan, HM Stationary Office 1953). The protective cases of a few of the miniature binoculars that I have obtained are specifically marked to indicate they were the gift of a soldier. In addition to the US occupation troops during the occupation era, Japan was also a primary R & R (rest and recuperation) destination for US Korean war troops (June 1950-July 1953), and then for US Vietnam war troops (1965-1975), and also hosted large US military bases for long periods of time, which also were staffed with large contingents of “ DAC s” (so called D ept of the A rmy C ivilians). Additionally it was common for the US military PX ( P ost E x changes, or military base shops) located all over the world wherever there were US military bases, to sell goods from Japan (cameras, binoculars, dolls, stereos) to US troops and their families. For example, my brother in law served in a US Army armored (tank) battalion posted to Germany in the 1970’s, and came home with a vast assortment of Japanese high end stereo equipment and a Japanese 35mm camera purchased at very favorable pricing at the US Army PX in Germany. Just as the rise of the Japanese binoculars and optics industry after WWI was largely influenced (encouraged) by the Japanese military, the rise of the post WWII Japanese binocular industry for the consumer market was substantially influenced in various ways by the US military.