Japanese Copies of Western goods

When WWII ended, the Japanese realized that they needed to build up their export business, in order to pay for reconstruction and repairs. Many Japanese firms opted to copy well-known western brands, and sell their products at a very low price. Some opted to make really cheap imitations (plastic replacing metal parts, low quality, etc.). But others went the opposite way-they made genuinely good copies using (in some cases) heavier and better quality components than the originals. I bought a japanese made lighter at a yard sale-it is a copy of an English Dunhill lighter-and appears to be solidly built. Some of the early Nikon cameras were the same way-they actually used brass instead of aluminum parts. My question: are most of these copies close enough that parts would be interchangeable? The lighter mfgs. name is “WIN”-could i fix it with a Dunhill repair kit?

In the 1970’s, Japanese makers reverse-engineered classic Gibson and Fender electric guitars from the 50’s. F & G models had been updated to stay NEW! so the features were different than the originals, and quality control had drifted.

The Japanese replicas were based on the original 50’s models and very well made. They have become highly prized in their own right.

Many, if not all, of the parts are interchangeable with the original U.S. versions.

Historical note here. the Japanese have a long history of copying manufactured goods, dating to well before WWII.

Back then Japanese goods were universally thought of (at least in the US) as being substandard and cheap. So much so that they renamed a province (or maybe just a city) to “Usa” so they could label products as made in USA. At least that’s how my memory of it is. That was a long time ago.

There is a town called Usa in Ōita Prefecture, but the story that they named it so in order to claim “Made in the USA” on goods is an urban legend.

I recall my Father cursing in the 1960s when a Japanese mica condenser came apart in his hands and replaced it with a metal one made in the United States. :slight_smile:

Well, jeez, I was half right. Actually, that’s why I added that bit about this being from a long-ago memory

:slight_smile: