Fujifilm, as we know today, officially starts in 1934, where the brand is unified and rebranded to establish the official company name. During the 1930s, Fuji reigns as a monopoly in producing film in Japan.
In the 1940’s they begin expanding and the development of optics, primarily for military applications for the Japanese military. Then World War II breaks out, causing a surge in production, and the company thrives.
Following the war, they diversify and move away from solely manufacturing film and optics. And, instead, also include electronic imaging, x-rays, and printing. This transition allows them to continue expanding rapidly, now outwardly towards the western hemisphere.
It’s not until 1956 do they have their first technological breakthrough with the development of their first computer. They developed this computer to aid in calculating light reflections when manufacturing lenses, in the hope of delivering higher quality products. In the late 1950s, they start making SLR cameras with the Fujica name, and they later separate themselves from Xerox, a long term partner, in 1962. 1974 marks a significant milestone for the manufacturer.
This is the year Fuji establishes a presence in New York, a hemisphere dominated by Kodak, their American competitor. Another breakthrough occurs in 1976, with the release of ASA (ISO) 400 film, a faster film that allowed users to shot in darker shooting conditions than ever before. Arguably the greatest and most distinct turning point for the company, however, occurs in 1984.
This is the year Fuji outbids Kodak for the sponsor for the United States Olympic team, which allows them to get both recognition and a foothold in American media. The Olympics exposed the American public to the company. Previously they had very minimal exposure.
Now, the increasingly gain market in American and their foreign customer base rapidly expands. In 1988, they released the first fully digital camera, the DS-1P. And in 1995, Consumer Reports published a statement that claims Fujfilm is equivalent to Kodak film in quality, which ends up being a significant factor in Kokak’s inevitable bankruptcy.
In the year 2000, the company changes directions as Shigetaka Komori replaces the outgoing predecessor. He aggressively focused Fuji towards transition entirely to digital, predicting the eventual collapse of the film era.
During this time, the company downsized employees and factories streamline development towards the digital age.
The decision to make such a drastic change was risky, as it goes against Japanese tradition to make such decisive changes.
However, it played in their favor and allowed the company to avoid an inevitable downfall. The company later partnered with Walmart by installing Fujifilm printing kiosks in its department stores, a collaboration that later reinvigorated the company.
And in 2012, they went on to release the mirrorless X Pro and the new X mount, a bazaar, but incredibly popular release. From this point, they release the XT series, which later become staples for the company and create the Fujifilm we know them today.