History of Kowa Sporting Optics

Step into the legacy of Kowa Sporting Optics with our History Timeline. Explore the evolution of precision optics, from our humble beginnings to groundbreaking innovations


The history of the Kowa Group dates back to a private shop, “Hattori Kanesaburo Wholesale Store” which was founded by Hattori Kanesaburo by naming after him in the 27th year of the Meiji era. At first, the store originally sold tie-dyeing and Chita cotton produced around in Narumi and Arimatsu.


Technicians from the Optical Division of the Toyokawa Naval Dockyard were recruited to establish Kowa Koki in Gamagori, Aichi. Production of spectacle lenses and opera glasses was started, followed by production of 33mm projection lenses (1947) and binoculars (1948).


KOWA released a spotting scope for the first time in Japan. As the first spotting scope models in Japan, "TS-1, TS-2" were released. Our products were selected as official tools used in the shooting event in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and became popular models sold for 36 years from the release. The “TS-1” and “TS-2” spotting scopes became 36-year long-selling models


A projection lens for CinemaScope (anamorphic lens) was produced and released. CinemaScope is a widescreen method developed by 20th Century Fox. Kowa Koki produced and sold the lenses after making an agreement with 20th Century Fox to obtain the sales rights in Japan and Southeast Asia. Became the first Japanese manufacturer to install large sightseeing binoculars. The first four units were installed on the roof of Maruei Department Store in Nagoya. With a 10 yen coin, people were able to enjoy the view for 3 minutes.


Kowa Company, Ltd. established Kowa Optimed, Inc. in L.A., U.S. Kowa Optimed, Inc. handles both optical and medical equipment as indicated by the company name, and was established as the new sales base for the electronic optical divisions in the United States. The optical sales division of Kowa American Corporation was then transferred to Kowa Optimed, Inc.


Zoom lenses for consumer video cameras were mass-produced. Focusing on the potential of home videos that had just started to be enjoyed, Kowa Company, Ltd. developed zoom lenses for video cameras of Victor Company of Japan, Ltd. in 1978. Zoom lenses for Matsushita-Kotobuki Electronics Co., Ltd. and Sony Corporation were also developed, and at peak production in 1981, Kowa Company, Ltd. became the leading manufacturer that produces over 80% of all the zoom lenses produced in Japan.


Launch of the spotting scopes "TSN series" with the TSN-1 and TSN-2 Under the concept of "producing a spotting scope providing the sharpest and clearest view in the world", TSN (Tele Scope New) series with a 77mm aperture lens and newly designed optical system was developed and released. The series name TSN has been passed until now with its concept and our pride.


"Kowa Europe GmbH" was established in Düsseldorf, Germany.


Launch of the TSN-3 PROMINAR and TSN-4 PROMINAR.
Released the first PROMINAR model incorporating fluorite crystal in the objective lens.


Released 82mm large-diameter binocular telescope model.


Launch of the TSN-823M PROMINAR and TSN-824M PROMINAR.
Released 82mm large-diameter spotting scope.


Launch of the TSN-883 PROMINAR and TSN-884 PROMINAR.
Released 88mm large-diameter spotting scope.


Launch of the PROMINAR 500mm F5.6 FL.
Released super-telephoto lens with a 500mm focal length standard specification. Combination with optional mount adapters changes the focal length to 350mm and 850mm, allowing telephoto imaging with a total of three focal lengths.


Low light color cameras and interchangeable lenses for Micro Four Thirds System were released.


Launch of the TSN-553 PROMINAR and TSN-554 PROMINAR.
Released 55mm diameter spotting scope.
This model provides both a compact size and a light weight body with the ultimate viewing sensation.


Launch of the TSN-99A PROMINAR and TSN-99S PROMINAR.
Released 99mm largest-diameter spotting scope. This model provides both exceptional brightness and resolving power due to the large objective lens diameter. The TSN-99 is the reference model for premium spotting scopes!


Launch of the TSN-88A PROMINAR and TSN-88S PROMINAR.
Colours, the way nature intended.


Launch of the TSN-66A PROMINAR and TSN-66S PROMINAR.
The new power of portability.


Stay tuned for the new product update!