An excerpt below from an interesting history of Minolta I stumbled over, the company was founded by Kazuo Tashima in 1928, originally as Nichi-Doku Shashinki Shoten (Japan-Germany Camera Company). The name was changed to Minolta in 1933.
"A new model introduced in 1933 first carried the Minolta brand name, a name Tashima created to sound like the Japanese word "minoru-ta," which means ripening rice field. The name reminded Tashima of a proverb his mother frequently used, meaning that the more successful one becomes, the more humble one must be: "The ripest ears of rice bow their heads lowest." The name, however, also has a Western meaning, as an acronym for M
achinery and In
You can read a lot more about the Minolta history here. http://companies.jrank.org/pages/2818/Minolta-Co-Ltd.html