Kowa Optical was established in 1946 as a branch of a textile company founded in 1894. They produced their first camera in 1954 and their first PP SLR in 1960. That was the Kowa (Kowaflex in US.) That was a rather simple camera with fixed 50mm lens.
Then came Kowa(flex) E in 1961, introducing an automatic diaphragm coupled with light metering from a selenium front panel under the prism top. Only the French camera Savoyflex Automatic had built something similar before, released in 1959. Uncommon for Japanese
cameras, Kowas always came with leaf shutters, which means the shutter was built into the lens, not the camera. But the lens was still a fixed 50mm. Kowa never produced much, and the last camera was introduced in 1972, although they continued for a while with
some 6x6 cameras, like the Kowa Six. The camera production ended in mid '70s. Presented here is an early Kowa H of 1963, and a late one, the SET R2 of 1970. The quality of later production may have been a problem for the reputation, as very few of
the ones I have seen are still working. Kowa also made lenses for other cameras, such as the Prominar-Miranda for the Miranda B of 1959.