Learn about the history of
Konica Minolta

Our History

Learn about the history of
Konica Minolta's businesses

Innovation Stories

Learn about the history of
Konica Minolta

Our History

Throughout its long history, Konica Minolta has contributed to the resolution of issues associated with changes in people's lives and work styles.
This brief summary presents the evolution of our company in four periods.


  • Cameras and Photographic Film - The Beginnings

    Konica Minolta’s history dates back to 1873 when Rokusaburo Sugiura began selling photographic materials (the founding of Konica). In 1903, the company introduced Japan's first branded camera and in 1929 it launched its first in-house produced film. Then the company developed and launched Japan's first medical x-ray film in 1933. Meanwhile, Kazuo Tashima, who founded the future Minolta in 1928, launched the first camera the following year. Both companies were building foundations for manufacturing independently developed products that deliver new value.

  • Rokusaburo Sugiura
    Kazuo Tashim
  • First planetarium unit (1958)
    Minolta Hi-Matic camera for Friendship 7 mission
  • Age of Space Exploration –
    Selected for Space Camera

    In 1958, building on optical technology gained through the development of camera lenses, Minolta completed Japan’s first planetarium. NASA, established in the United States in the same year, succeeded in the first manned orbital space flight in 1962. Astronaut John Glenn used the Minolta Hi-Matic camera to photograph Earth as seen from space.


  • Konica and Minolta “World Firsts”
    and Overseas Expansion

    The Konica and Minolta brands spread globally, launching several cameras as “world firsts”. These allowed the general public to enjoy taking photographs easily and freely. In addition, both companies continued to pursue new business areas, including TV colour analysers and pulse oximeters in the healthcare field.

  • The world's first camera with built-in flash, Konica C35EF, is launched (1975)
    The world's first finger-measurement type pulse oximeter, OXIMET MET-1471, is launched (1977)
  • Copiers produced at the factory
    First plain paper copier with domestic technology, U-Bix480, is launched (1971)
  • Office Automation and Rapid Growth of
    Copier Business

    Based on their camera technology, Konica and Minolta focused on the development and manufacture of copiers. Since this time, copiers became a business mainstay product, alongside cameras and film. With the spread of office automation equipment, both companies rapidly expanded their businesses in the US and Europe.


  • Digital Age and Revolutionary Workplace

    The pace of technical innovation accelerated in the 1980s, and the introduction of Windows 95 in 1995 brought personal computers to the public. The copier became an MFP that connected to networks and integrated scanning and fax functions – contributing to business innovation at client companies.

  • CF70, digital full-color copier, is launched (1990)
    High-performance "polymerization method toner" with excellent environmental performance
  • Ultra-high-precision aspheric plastic lens for CD players is developed (1984)
    Fully launched business for TAC films for LCD polarizers (2000)
  • Digital Age Impact on Konica and Minolta businesses

    The advance of digitalization created new business opportunities. As the media for recording music and images shifted to optical discs, Konica became the world’s top supplier of pickup lenses for home-use CDs and DVDs. Meanwhile, as the market for digital cameras rapidly expanded, film cameras and photographic film started to suffer.


  • Konica and Minolta Integration -
    Joint Strengths Create New Value

    In 2003, Konica and Minolta integrated their operations to strengthen Business Technologies – the core business of both companies. While concentrating resources on growth areas through the genre-top strategy, the company made the tough decision to withdraw from their founding photographic film and camera business.
    In 2023, 150 years since the founding of the company, Konica Minolta remains committed to responding to ever-changing times and contributing to the realization of a sustainable society centered on people’s needs.

  • Konica and Minolta integrate their management (2003)
    Imaging-IoT platform FORXAI

More about history

Learn about the history of
Konica Minolta's businesses

Innovation Stories

Throughout its long history, Konica Minolta has innovation in a variety of fields.
Take a look at each story, from its beginning to each and every milestone, you'll see the spirit that has been passed down through the generations.