The company was founded as Asahi Kogaku Goshi Kaisha in November 1919 by Kumao Kajiwara, at a shop in the Toshima suburb of Tokyo, and began producing spectacle lenses (which it still manufactures). In 1938 it changed its name to Asahi Optical Co., Ltd. (旭光学工業株式会社 Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushiki-gaisha?), and by this time it was also manufacturing camera/cine lenses. In the lead-up to World War II, Asahi Optical devoted much of its time to fulfilling military contracts for optical instruments. At the end of WW2 Asahi Optical was disbanded by the occupying powers, being allowed to re-form in 1948. The company resumed its pre-war activities, manufacturing binoculars and consumer camera lenses for Konishiroku and Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō (later Konica and Minolta respectively).At this time coating began to be applied to all lenses. In 1948 Asahi developed a range of miniature binoculars under the trade name ‘Jupiter’, these also incorporated coated optics which provide unparalleled clarity and contrast, putting them in the front line of technology at that time.