Trends before foundation

On October 22, 1938, C. Carlson of the United States succeeded in reproducing the first image using his own electrophotographic method. After that, important research and development continued at Battel Memorial Institute and Xerox, and in 1950 Xerox announced the first product, Model A. In 1954, RCA invented the Electrofax and started licensing the technology. In 1959, Haloid released the Xerox 914, the first commercial plain paper copier.


The news of this epoch-making invention made Japan aware of the importance of the electrophotographic copying method. At that time, Japan had just entered a period of the rapid economic growth. Several companies and universities were planning to introduce technology for copiers in around 1954.

Carlson Pat.
Patent figure of electrophotography invented by C. F. Carlson

Founding of the society

On June 30, 1958, a meeting was held at Gakushi Kaikan in Akamon, Hongo, to prepare for the founding of an academic society that would serve as the foundation for the promotion of electrophotography research in Japan.

There were 24 participants, including 7 original members, Eiichi Inoue (Tokyo Institute of Tech.), Hisatomo Kiwaki (Electrical Laboratory), Kenichi Miura (Tokyo Metropolitan Univ.), Hiroshi Nozaki (Univ. of Tokyo), Koji Yoshida (Osaka Prefecture Univ.), Toshifumi Sakata(Univ. of Tokyo), and Tadashi Yoshinaga(Univ. of Tokyo).


In March 1959, the academic journal “Electrophotography –The Society Journal-” was published, and in June of the same year the name was changed to “The society of Electrophotography of Japan”. The society grew rapidly, reaching 140 full members and 31 supporting companies as of March 1959.

Notice of the 1959 Annual General Meeting



[Electrophotography] Volume 1, No.1 (1959)

Photography plays an extremely important role in modern life, and its scope is expanding day by day. Areas traditionally occupied by photography are now in great demand. Uses of photography that are expected to expand further in the near future include the following;

First, office photographs will occupy the largest position. The second is medical photography, including X-rays, autoradiography, and the like. The third is nuclear photography. The fourth is color film, which is probably color printing. Color television will soon come into practical use, and the use of color film will likely increase further at that time.

When photography was invented by Niefus, the photosensitivity of bituminous substances, or today’s photosensitive resin, was used as the main photosensitizer. After that, for about 100 years from the time of Daguerre and Fox Talbot, silver salts, especially silver halides, became the mainstream of photosensitive materials. Recently, however, photosensitive materials other than silver halide have come to be used in certain types of photography. One of them is electrophotography, which has been around for almost a decade, but which has accelerated its development in recent years. Also noteworthy are the types of video tapes which are not themselves photosensitive but are used in place of recording paper, and organic photosensitive resins which are believed to be used primarily in printing plate materials.

The requirements for electrophotography would be the characteristics of rapid and accurate recording, the avoidance of conventional development using aqueous solutions, and secondary low cost. On the other hand, however, there are still many points that are inferior to silver salt photography. Poor resolving power and inability to express intermediate tones are the points that require the most research. Thus, electrophotography has many problems to be solved, and it is difficult without the cooperation of physics, chemistry, mechanics, and electricity. The range of possible applications is extremely wide, including television, printing, cinema, and medicine. The “Forum of the Electrophotography of Japan” was established for the purpose of exchanging technical information and promoting research with the clear goal of “electrophotography” by gathering researchers in related fields. In order to achieve this purpose, we hold lectures on related matters, and publish reports and publications of our journals. We also compile a patent collection that collects patents on electrophotography or related matters from around the world. We also established a committee on the sensitivity display for electrophotography. However, the work of the Forum is all about research and exchange of technical information and is not directly related to the work of the industry. For this reason, We plan to call it the “Society of the Electrophotography of Japan”. This issue is the first journal edited by this association. I think there are various criticisms, such as the lack of content despite the time it took, but please do not hesitate to tell us.  We would like to use it as a reference to make it even better from the second issue.

Chairman, Shinichi Kikuchi


Growth and spread

In 1975, a U.S. Federal Trade Commission ruling allowed the licensing of the Xerox patents.  The development of copiers by domestic companies became active.  As a specialized academic society that focuses on electrophotographic materials, electrophotographic processes, and image recording, the Society serves as a forum for information sharing by researchers and developers, as well as enlightenment and educational activities such as seminars (the first seminar course was held in December 1981). The Society has developed along with the expansion of the copier industry.

In November 1983, the 25th anniversary commemorative lecture was held on a grand scale with 250 participants.


From analog to digital

In the 1980s,with the spread of computers, new research subjects such as printing technology other than electrophotography, digital image processing technology, and digital image display devices to replace paper media were included to handle digitized image information. In 1984, the first Non-impact Printing (NIP) Technologies Symposium was held. After the 4th symposium, it was merged with the annual conference and renamed to “Japan Hardcopy”, which has been taken over to today’s “Imaging Conference JAPAN”.

Proceedings of the 1st NIP Symposium (1984), Japan Hardcopy ’88 (1988) and 1st NIP Technical Seminar (1988)


From printing to imaging

The society, which started as specialists in electrophotography, has grown to cover not only printing technology but also various digital imaging technology areas, including electronic imaging. In 1998, as we celebrated the 40th anniversary of our founding, we changed the name of the society to “The Imaging Society of Japan”. Around the year 2000, the society expanded with the shift from analog copiers to multi-functional printers and the spread of compact color printers. In fiscal 2007, the number of individual members reached a peak of about 1,200.

Panel discussion on Japan Hardcopy 2001 “Harmony between Paper and Display”

Establishment of the society website

The Imaging Society of Japan launched its website in 1997 and has been disseminating information on the committee organization and information on various events in a timely manner. After that, in 2007, along with the expansion of content, the screen design was renewed, and functions as an entrance to various IT services, such as digital distribution of academic journals, electronic submission of papers, and web participation registration for events, have been enhanced. In 2023, the website has been redesigned to what it is today, organizing the ever-growing amount of content and information. The page structure has been improved to make it easier to read and to find the information you need.

Initial society website established in 1997 (after 1998 name change)
Society website with a new design in 2007


Taking on new challenges

Since 2002, lectures called Frontier Seminars have been planned, pioneering new areas of imaging technology such as electronic paper and digital fabrication, and providing opportunities for information gathering and mutual exchange. The Frontier Seminar was temporarily suspended after the 4th meeting in 2008, but the activities to pioneer new areas of imaging are still continuing.

Scene at the 1st Frontier Seminar Exhibition


Since 1988, the Society has been holding international conferences every four to five years in cooperation with IS&T and other overseas academic societies. The international conference PPIC ’08 (Pan-Pacific Imaging Conference ’08) held in 2008, the 50th anniversary of the foundation, was grandly held at Arcadia Ichigaya (private school hall). Also, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary, the logo mark of this society has been updated to today’s logo.


PPIC’08 International Conference held on the 50th anniversary of our founding
Commemorative lecture by Dr. Toshifumi Sakata at PPIC’08

Incorporation, federation

In 2010, we registered the establishment of our company and made a new start as the “General Incorporated Association of Imaging Society of Japan”. In 2014, academic societies in image-related fields, including this society, gathered together to establish the “Federation of Imaging Societies” with the aim of disseminating information and providing a forum for discussion that will contribute to new developments in imaging technology based on the handling of integrated images. As a joint project of this federation, the 1st International Conference on Advanced Imaging 2015 (ICAI2015) was held in June 2015, and we continue to act as representatives of various imaging fields in Japan and overseas.


Messages written by participants at the ICAI2015 venue


The future of ISJ

Today, as computers continue to evolve, it is now possible to handle digital image data with an amount of information that exceeds the level of human perception. While imaging technology is becoming more sophisticated, the way in which image information is required in everyday life is also changing. In 2012, the Society formulated its long-term vision, “Vision 55”, which was revised in 2018 as “Vision 2030” and continues to take on new challenges.


60th anniversary symposium held in 2018 (Hitotsubashi Memorial Hall)
Academic chronology (Kitamura and Kimura: History of the Imaging Society of Japan (Overview), Journal of the Imaging Society of Japan, (57), p.21(2018))


For more information, please refer to:


T. Kitamura and M. Kimura, History of the Imaging Society of Japan (Overview), Journal of the Imaging Society of Japan, (57), pp.21-28 (2018)[in Japanese]