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Did the US Navy Use Japanese Binoculars Prior to WWII? (1 Viewer)

ChadHahn

Well-known member
I was watching Patton and noticed his 7x50 binoculars said Japan on the lower hinge cover. Looking on IMDB someone said that the US used Japanese binoculars prior to the bombing Pearl Harbor. Is this true? As a camera buff I know that companies like Nikon and Canon became known for their lenses during the Korean War when photojournalist tried and were impressed with their optical quality. I assumed that the same happened with their binoculars.

Trying to find the answer to this I did learn that Japanese optical quality was second only to Germany but as far as I know, Japan was synonymous with cheap junk in the 1930s, at least as far as public perception in the United States went. So would the US Military use Japanese optics no matter how good they were in that time period?

Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.
 
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LPT

Well-known member
“Looking on IMDB someone said that the US used Japanese binoculars prior to the bombing Pearl Harbor. Is this true?”

No, this is absolute nonsense. Prior to Pearl Harbor U.S. forces used mostly U.S. made Bausch & Lomb handheld binoculars together with a small number of naval Zeiss binoculars ordered in the early 1930’s and possibly even a few German and French prismatics left over from WW 1 or before. The props manager for Patton really dropped the ball on this one. Many inter-war Japanese binoculars were of high quality with Nippon Kogaku (Nikon) being preeminent although they certainly weren’t second only to Germany because the British, French, Italians, and Americans also made some pretty fine optics.
 

ChadHahn

Well-known member
Thanks for the reply. I thought it was BS but wanted to make sure before I started on a rant. :)

I agree that they dropped the ball on the binoculars, especially since it was being seen on big screens and Japan was probably in letters a foot high when being shown in a theater.
 

LPT

Well-known member
I‘ll bet the binocular was a center focus one too which was almost never the case for WW 2 period binoculars (unless it was a private purchase or one donated by civilians).
 
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