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05-21-2015, 04:38 AM   #1
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Lens nomenclature and the Japanese language

Nikon has its Nikkors.

For Ricoh, it's Rikenon.

Rokkor, IIRC, is for Minolta.

There are similarities between the terms and between term and company of origin in two cases, which suggest they are a part of speech, perhaps a possessive adjective of some kind. Is there anyone about who is fluent in both Japanese and English who can explain how the terms in bold came to be?

05-21-2015, 04:59 AM   #2
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The Rokkor Files - Minolta Lens History

QuoteQuote:
Another term commonly seen in relation to Minolta lenses is the term “Rokkor”. Like many other manufacturers, Minolta employed a separate name for its lenses, in this case the name “Rokkor” was chosen by Minolta founder, Kazuo Tashima, as a reference to Mount Rokko in Japan, which is adjacent to the Minolta Factory.
Rokkor - Camerapedia

QuoteQuote:
Rokkor was the brand name Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō and subsequently Minolta used for its camera lenses. The great majority of these lenses only fitted the company's own manual-focus 35mm SLR camera bodies or compatible products like those of Seagull. Others were part of fixed-lens cameras. Chiyoda also made Rokkor lenses for its Leica-thread-mount rangefinder cameras; these lenses may of course be used on Canon, Cosina Voigtländer, Leitz and other Leica Thread Mount cameras.

The name Rokkor is derived from Mount Rokkō (六甲), a mountain near Osaka that could be seen from Chiyoda's Mukogawa factory;[1] it was probably also inspired by the name Nikkor used by Nippon Kōgaku from 1932. It appeared for the first time in 1940 on the 20cm f/4.5 lens of the SK-100 handheld aerial photography camera (百式小型航空写真機SK).[2] The first civilian camera equipped with a Rokkor was the Semi Minolta III, with a 75/3.5 lens that also happens to be the first Japanese coated lens commercially available.[3] However, a Semi Minolta II has been observed with the Rokkor 75/3.5 lens, see the discussion in the corresponding page.
05-21-2015, 07:20 AM   #3
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I've wondered myself about the proliferation of -on names (Rikenon, Cosinon, Chinon, Fujinon, Kiron,...).
05-21-2015, 08:29 AM   #4
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I don't know about -or and -non, but I know that "ko" appears in a lot of camera products because "kogaku" is the Japanese for optics. Some brands that contain it are Nikon, Ricoh and Zuiko. Maybe Kenko too.

The "Riken" in Rikenon probably comes from the fact that Ricoh as a company was a company formed as an offshoot of Riken technical institute in the 1930s. The name Ricoh seems to be an abbreviation of Riken and Kogaku.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone knows about -or and -non. It could just be that someone thought it sounded cool as a name and other followed suit. Language and names often develop in that arbitrary kind of way.

05-21-2015, 08:46 AM   #5
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If someone could find me a picture of the Japanese characters of the name, I could help. On and or in themselves are not Japanese particles. But if I could see the kanji of the words I may be able to help shed some light.
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