Fuji Photo Film Co. is a Japan-based company which started off as a maker of film and only later on decided to try its hand at manufacturing cameras.The company was founded in 1934 and was called Fuji Shashin Film K.K. At the time, they produced several different types of film. Asano Shuichi was their first CEO. Their factories were set up in the Minami-Ashigara village (now it’s a city) in the Kanagawa prefecture. They say that the name Fuji had been chosen by Shuichi from Mt. Fuji which wasn’t too far away from Mt. Hakone where their factories were located. The name had already been registered by another company, though, and they purchased the rights from them for ¥8,000. This was a very important sum when you consider where the company went.
The company began producing optical glass in the early 1940’s which was primarily for military use. Their dependent company, Fuji Photo Optical Co. was only founded in 1944. This was done using the assets from Enomoto Kogaku Seiki Seisakusho. The company was fully absorbed into Fuji Photo Optical Co. in 1945 though. There were a lot of other Fuji companies which were created after the war, and all of them were dependent on the main Fuji Shashin Film Co. which eventually became the Fujifilm Group.
Fuji only started making cameras in 1948 when they released the Fujica Six. Until the end of the 70’s most of the cameras that Fuji built were named Fujica. This was a contraction of the words Fuji and camera. The company began making digital cameras as early as 1988. They were the most agile of all the filmmakers and were the quickest to adapt to digital imaging. Today, they offer leading tech concerns small digital cameras which have high sensitivity CCDs. They also sell some of the most expensive DSLRs in the world.
The demand for photographic film fell in the new millennium and in response to this Fuji implemented reforms which were aimed at a drastic transformation of their business structures. Even in the 1980s, they had foreseen this switch and developed strategies to ensure they would be at the forefront of the change. They diversified into other business and as a result of this adapted much better to the shift while its chief competitor, Eastman Kodak, had a tough time and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2012.