Zuiko - Name Meaning / History

Started Jan 13, 2004 | Discussions
Higuma Veteran Member • Posts: 4,418
Zuiko - Name Meaning / History

A little while ago a thread came out about what Zuiko means - I searched for it but lost my patience - and where it came from...

Here is an Official tidbit that I came across when perusing the Japanese site.... I guess this is the OFFICIAL explanation.. I apologize if this is a repeat of common knowledge...

~~~~~

ZUIKO is the name of the lens used on the Semi-OLYMPUS I, the first camera sold by the Takachiho corporation (OLYMPUS' predecessor) in 1936. The name was taken from two of the characters used to write "Mizuho Optical Research Laboratory," where the lens was created, and for its close association with the company name Takachiho and trademark OLYMPUS, with the goal of creating an auspicious name.

~~~~~

Apparently nothing to do with Thunder Gods or anything like that... LOL... I guess that is a urban legend about the name... I asked my wife (who's Japanese) about the translation given by another poster - something like Thunder God or From the Gods - and she gave gave me the "head tilt".... Universal for WTF....

Cheers,

Cody New Member • Posts: 19
Re: Zuiko - Name Meaning / History

Zuiko means "Light of the Gods" in Japanese

Higuma wrote:

A little while ago a thread came out about what Zuiko means - I
searched for it but lost my patience - and where it came from...

Here is an Official tidbit that I came across when perusing the
Japanese site.... I guess this is the OFFICIAL explanation.. I
apologize if this is a repeat of common knowledge...

~~~~~

ZUIKO is the name of the lens used on the Semi-OLYMPUS I, the first
camera sold by the Takachiho corporation (OLYMPUS' predecessor) in
1936. The name was taken from two of the characters used to write
"Mizuho Optical Research Laboratory," where the lens was created,
and for its close association with the company name Takachiho and
trademark OLYMPUS, with the goal of creating an auspicious name.

~~~~~

Apparently nothing to do with Thunder Gods or anything like that...
LOL... I guess that is a urban legend about the name... I asked my
wife (who's Japanese) about the translation given by another poster

  • something like Thunder God or From the Gods - and she gave gave

me the "head tilt".... Universal for WTF....

Cheers,

Michael S.
Michael S. Veteran Member • Posts: 8,148
Re: Zuiko - Name Meaning / History

Cody wrote:

Zuiko means "Light of the Gods" in Japanese

yup - thats what I have been told too (and posted a while ago here in this forum)...

kind regards,

-- hide signature --

Michael S.
Austria/EUROPE
(check equipment via profile)

http://www.pbase.com/bountyhunter
pbase-supporter

 Michael S.'s gear list:Michael S.'s gear list
Leica SL2 Nikon D5300 Nikon D610 Leica M10-P Nikon D810A +6 more
tkramer Forum Member • Posts: 68
Light, Music, Food of Gods - Not

I think the point of Higuma's post was an attempt to debunk the whole "_ of the Gods" business, no? I would tend to take more stock in his explanation since none of our Japanese couterparts have proclaimed a literal translation of the word. His wife's head-tilt should also attest to that.

I do, however, like the romance of the fabled marketing "translation".

Michael S. wrote:

Cody wrote:

Zuiko means "Light of the Gods" in Japanese

yup - thats what I have been told too (and posted a while ago here
in this forum)...

OP Higuma Veteran Member • Posts: 4,418
ONE more time....

With respect.....

OK folks - One more time - I live in Japan and my wife is Japanese... she is not a housewife - she is a learned University graduate who has been an executive secretary for the CEO and Chairman of a large Japanese Company for almost 20 years - she is NO slouch ( & beautiful btw )

According to her - - - - There is NO literal translation from the word Zuiko to a Japanese word... There is no word pronounced Zuiko in the Japanese language - KO means "light" and the closest word would be an old Shinto (religious language is old and relatively unused) word spelled " 瑞光 " this can be pronounced... "zwee-ko" - this word means " the light of / from a happy ococcasion and has SFA to do with God or Gods... To you these pronunciations would appear the same but - trust me - subtle differences in pronunciation in Japanese make HUGE differences in meaning....

I think that this is a case of someone taking a word and twisting the translation of a Japanese word into a definition in another language to make it sound Cool.. sorry but the word comes from the names of factories - not cool or romantic like "light of Gods"....

The quote that I posted originally was a direct cut and paste from Olympus's website - NOT a translation... Don't know what is so hard to understand about that..

Sorry - but unless you can direct me to anything else Official from Olympus regarding the name then you are just supporting another urban legand...

I have heard other stories about the "real" meaning of company names etc.. Like did you hear that Ford really means "Found On Road Dead" LOL... ;> ) Sorry... couldn't help myself... Bad humor I know... but case in point - Anybody can make up a plausible explanation and if it's repeated enough then it becomes easier to believe...

If there are any more Japanese scholars out there who want to chime in with a kanji (pictograph character) of this word go ahead... I would love to prove my wife wrong regarding Japanese - just once....

Cheers...

scott kirkpatrick Contributing Member • Posts: 886
Re: ONE more time....

Higuma wrote:

With respect.....

OK folks - One more time - I live in Japan and my wife is
Japanese... she is not a housewife - she is a learned University
graduate who has been an executive secretary for the CEO and
Chairman of a large Japanese Company for almost 20 years - she is
NO slouch ( & beautiful btw )

According to her - - - - There is NO literal translation from the
word Zuiko to a Japanese word... There is no word pronounced Zuiko
in the Japanese language - KO means "light" and the closest word
would be an old Shinto (religious language is old and relatively
unused) word spelled " 瑞光 " this can be pronounced...
"zwee-ko" - this word means " the light of / from a happy
ococcasion and has SFA to do with God or Gods... To you these
pronunciations would appear the same but - trust me - subtle
differences in pronunciation in Japanese make HUGE differences in
meaning....

If there are any more Japanese scholars out there who want to chime
in with a kanji (pictograph character) of this word go ahead... I
would love to prove my wife wrong regarding Japanese - just once....

Cheers...

Your explanation makes sense to me. I know only a few words of Japanese, but have a small collection of Japanese-English dictionaries from visits and attempts to learn more. "Gods" is "kami" and the usage of "ko" for "light " seems to be pretty arcane, I couldn't find it. But the process of going from the unambiguous phonetic Japanese to Kanji characters with auspicious meaning permits some pretty big leaps.

For us interested in trivia, could you provide the phonetic Japanese spellings in romanj) of "Mizuho Optical Research Laboratory," and of Olympus' current company name?

-- hide signature --
(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 2,445
Re: ONE more time....

Higuma wrote:

With respect.....

OK folks - One more time - I live in Japan and my wife is
Japanese... she is not a housewife - she is a learned University
graduate who has been an executive secretary for the CEO and
Chairman of a large Japanese Company for almost 20 years - she is
NO slouch ( & beautiful btw )

According to her - - - - There is NO literal translation from the
word Zuiko to a Japanese word... There is no word pronounced Zuiko
in the Japanese language - KO means "light" and the closest word
would be an old Shinto (religious language is old and relatively
unused) word spelled " 瑞光 " this can be pronounced...
"zwee-ko" - this word means " the light of / from a happy
ococcasion and has SFA to do with God or Gods... To you these
pronunciations would appear the same but - trust me - subtle
differences in pronunciation in Japanese make HUGE differences in
meaning....

I think that this is a case of someone taking a word and twisting
the translation of a Japanese word into a definition in another
language to make it sound Cool.. sorry but the word comes from the
names of factories - not cool or romantic like "light of Gods"....

The quote that I posted originally was a direct cut and paste from
Olympus's website - NOT a translation... Don't know what is so hard
to understand about that..

Sorry - but unless you can direct me to anything else Official from
Olympus regarding the name then you are just supporting another
urban legand...

I have heard other stories about the "real" meaning of company
names etc.. Like did you hear that Ford really means "Found On Road
Dead" LOL... ;> ) Sorry... couldn't help myself... Bad humor I
know... but case in point - Anybody can make up a plausible
explanation and if it's repeated enough then it becomes easier to
believe...

If there are any more Japanese scholars out there who want to chime
in with a kanji (pictograph character) of this word go ahead... I
would love to prove my wife wrong regarding Japanese - just once....

Cheers...

Well, these lenses don't emit light anyway, they just help capturing some. The light of Gods, I am not sure, that of Goddesses most certainly!

Cheers!
--
Hans H. Siegrist

OP Higuma Veteran Member • Posts: 4,418
Seppuku..

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...

OldDigiman Senior Member • Posts: 1,960
Re: Seppuku..dont' be hasty

Higuma wrote:

Time for ritual suicide...

Unless that story is just something made up by the Oly marketing guys . . . .

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...

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.

-- hide signature --
Twiddle D Dum Veteran Member • Posts: 3,564
Any takers on "Canon" ? {:-} (nt)

Paul

'The most profound change occurs just at the edge of . . . . CHAOS !!'

nick66davis Senior Member • Posts: 2,406
Re: Any takers on "Canon"

Plight of the Frogs?

kind regards

Nick

'To appreciate a rainbow you need some rain'

http://www.pbase.com/nickjdavis

 nick66davis's gear list:nick66davis's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 O.I.S Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH
James Pilcher
James Pilcher Forum Pro • Posts: 10,148
I'll give it a try...

I believe that "Canon" is derived from the "Kwanon" 35mm camera developed in Japan in the 1930s.

Regards,

Jim

'The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange

 James Pilcher's gear list:James Pilcher's gear list
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Fujifilm X70 Olympus PEN-F +13 more
James Pilcher
James Pilcher Forum Pro • Posts: 10,148
Makes sense to me

"Zuiko = auspicious light"

Many many years ago I was told by an Olympus rep that "Zuiko" means "sweet light" so this explanation makes sense to my feeble brain.

Regards,

Jim

'The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange

 James Pilcher's gear list:James Pilcher's gear list
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Fujifilm X70 Olympus PEN-F +13 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads