This article is about the Japanese film, theater production, and distributive company. For other uses, see Toho (disambiguation).
Toho Co., Ltd.
Native name
Traded as TYO: 9602
Industry Motion picture, theater, television
Founded August 12, 1932 (1932-08-12) (as Tokyo-Takarazuka Theater Company)
Tokyo, Japan
Founder Ichizō Kobayashi
Headquarters Yūrakuchō, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Key people
Yoshishige Shimatani
Number of employees

Toho Co., Ltd. (東宝株式会社 Tōhō Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese film, theater production, and distribution company. It has its headquarters in Yūrakuchō, Chiyoda, Tokyo, and is one of the core companies of the Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group. Outside Japan, it is best known as the producer and distributor of many kaiju and tokusatsu films, the Chouseishin tokusatsu superhero television franchise, the films of Akira Kurosawa, and the anime films of Studio Ghibli. Other famous directors, including Yasujirō Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Masaki Kobayashi, and Mikio Naruse, also directed films for Toho.

Toho's most famous creation is Godzilla, who features in 28 of the company's films. Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, and Rodan are described as Toho's Big Five because of the monsters' numerous appearances in all three eras of the franchise, as well as spin-offs. Toho has also been involved in the production of numerous anime titles. Its subdivisions are Toho-Towa Distribution, Toho Pictures Incorporated, Toho International Company Limited, Toho E. B. Company Limited, and Toho Music Corporation & Toho Costume Company Limited. The company is the largest shareholder (7.96%) of Fuji Media Holdings Inc.


Toho was created by the founder of Hankyu Railway, Ichizo Kobayashi, in 1932 as the Tokyo-Takarazuka Theater Company (東京宝塚劇場株式会社 Tōkyō Takarazuka Gekijō Kabushiki-gaisha). It managed much of the kabuki in Tokyo and, among other properties, the Tokyo Takarazuka Theater and the Imperial Garden Theater in Tokyo; Toho and Shochiku enjoyed a duopoly over theaters in Tokyo for many years.

After several successful film exports to the United States during the 1950s through Henry G. Saperstein, Toho took over the La Brea Theatre in Los Angeles to show its own films without the need to sell them to a distributor. It was known as the Toho Theatre from the late 1960s until the 1970s.[1] Toho also had a theater in San Francisco and opened a theater in New York City in 1963.[2]

The Shintoho Company, which existed until 1964, was named New Toho because it broke off from the original company.

The company has contributed to the production of some American films, including Sam Raimi's 1998 film, A Simple Plan.

Major productions and distributions


Toho Educational Film Companies Logo from 1932–51, presented in a windowboxed 1.33:1 frame












Anime television series

In more recent years and for a period, they have produced video games. One of their first video game was the 1990 NES game titled Circus Caper. Later, they followed with a series of games based on Godzilla and a 1992 game called Serizawa Nobuo no Birdy Try. It also published games such as Super Aleste. They even worked with Bandai on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, released in Japan in 1988 and in the United States in 1989.


Toho's headquarters, the Toho Hibiya Building (東宝日比谷ビル Tōhō Hibiya Biru), are in Yūrakuchō, Chiyoda, Tokyo. The company moved into its current headquarters in April 2005.[5]

See also


  1. Fox La Brea Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Cinema Treasures. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  2. "Toho" Far East Film News December 25, 1963.
  5. "会社の沿革." Toho. Retrieved on February 26, 2010. "2005年4月 東宝本社を東宝日比谷ビル(東京都千代田区有楽町一丁目2-2)に移転。"

Further reading

"Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men - The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda," Peter H. Brothers (AuthorHouse 2009).

"Toho Studios Story: A History and Complete Filmography" Stuart Galbraith IV (Scarecrow Press 2008)

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