Zuiko - Name Meaning / History

Started Jan 13, 2004 | Discussions thread
scott kirkpatrick Contributing Member • Posts: 886
Re: "Old Shinto words" not used any more

Higuma wrote:
Time for ritual suicide...

Dug a lot more and found this tidbit buried in another Olympus site...

http://www.olympus.co.jp/en/news/2003a/nr030624e1dt3e.cfm

2nd Paragraph of this site states the "LONG" version of the
explanation as follows...

"It was in 1936 that the Takachiho corporation, forerunner of today's Olympus Optical Co., Ltd., introduced its first camera, the Semi-Olympus I. The camera's lens was given the name Zuiko, a Japanese word that means "light of the gods." It was an auspicious name, chosen partially because the lens had been developed at the Mizuho Optical Research Laboratory (in Japanese, the first character of the name " Mizuho " can also be read " zui " ), and partially because the corporate name, Takachiho, is a Japanese word that means " mountain of the gods. " But more than the name, it was the extremely high quality of the lens that sparked comment at the time. And ever since, Zuiko lenses have been featured on succeeding generations of Olympus cameras. The Zuiko lenses for our OM SLR system 35mm film cameras, for example, were widely acclaimed for their remarkable resolving and imaging power, and became one of the world's most respected high-performance lens brands."

My wife still feels that this must be a rather OLD translation of a
no longer used Shinto word but regardless I stand corrected...

Off to get my wakasashi and get on with it....

Regardless the above is the "latest" explanation I have found and
validates what others have said...

Cheers...

I think there is an interesting story here. Takachiho (the predecessor of Olympus Co) was founded in 1919. It took the name of what sounds like a beautiful city in Japan (check out their website), named after the palace of the second mythical emperor of Japan, who was still a god at that point in invented history. I can't find (on the web, in Lafcadio Hearn, or in my other imperfect references to Japanese myths and legends) anything that says Takachiho was a mountain on which gods played. In fact that sounds quite wrong, since the Bigtime gods in the classic Shinto myths strictly lived high above the earth in heaven, and the thousands of Kami (spirits of the departed) stay close to the areas they inhabited when living. But 1919 was a time when Japanese myth-making reached extraordinary heights, to justify the emporor and imperial expansion. The name Olympus was introduced in the 1930s (along with "Zwee-Ko") for their first camera products, and the name Takachiho was abandoned in 1949. 1949 was just about the end of the McCarthur postwar occupation and administration, a time when Shinto and references to the old legends reached their deepest level of political incorrectness. So in "Olympus" and "Zuiko = auspicious light" we have two nice examples of what the marketing types of their times thought were wonderfully apt phrases for their products. No wonder these are a mystery to us now.

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