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Toho Company, Ltd.
Native name
Tōhō kabushiki gaisha
TypePublic (Kabushiki gaisha)
TYO: 9602
FSE: 9602
Nikkei 225 component (TYO)
  • Tokyo-Takarazuka Theatre Company[1]
  • Photo Chemical Laboratory Co., Ltd.[1]
  • J.O. Studio[1]
  • Toho Film Distribution Co., Ltd.[1]
FoundedAugust 12, 1932; 91 years ago (1932-08-12) (as Tokyo-Takarazuka Theatre Company)
Tokyo, Japan
FounderIchizō Kobayashi
HeadquartersYūrakuchō, Chiyoda, ,
Area served
Worldwide, mainly Japan
Key people
Yoshishige Shimatani
ProductsMotion pictures
Television programs
Video games
ServicesFilm distribution
Film production
Movie theatres
Number of employees
ParentHankyu Hanshin Toho Group[a]
  • Motion Picture Department
  • Theatrical Department
  • Corporate Real Estate Department
  • Toho Studios
  • International Television Films
  • Toho-Towa
  • Toho Cinemas
  • Toho Entertainment
  • Toho Music
  • Toho Eizo Bijutsu
  • Toho Costume
  • Toho Stage Craft
  • Toho Stella
  • Toho International
  • Toho Retail
  • Toho Marketing
  • Toho Facilities
  • Toho Building Management

Toho Co., Ltd. (東宝株式会社, Tōhō Kabushiki gaisha) is a Japanese entertainment company primarily engaged in the production and distribution of films and the production and exhibition of stage plays. It has its headquarters in Chiyoda, Tokyo, and is one of the core companies of the Osaka-based Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group. Toho is best known for producing and distributing many of Ishirō Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya's kaiju and tokusatsu films as well as the films of Akira Kurosawa and the anime films of Studio Ghibli, CoMix Wave Films, TMS Entertainment, and OLM, Inc. The company has released the majority of the highest-grossing Japanese films.

Toho's most famous creation is Godzilla, who is featured in 32 of the company's films. Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Mechagodzilla are described as Toho's Big Five because of the monsters' numerous appearances throughout the franchise, as well as spin-offs. Toho has also been involved in the production of numerous anime titles. Its subdivisions are Toho-Towa Company, Limited (Japanese exclusive theatrical distributor of Universal Pictures via NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan), Towa Pictures Company Limited (Japanese exclusive theatrical distributor of Paramount Pictures), 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 is one of the four members of the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (MPPAJ), is the largest of Japan's Big Four film studios, and is the only film studio that is a component of the Nikkei 225 index.


The Hibiya Godzilla Square located nearby the headquarters in Chiyoda, Tokyo

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

In 1953, Toho established Toho International, a Los Angeles-based subsidiary intended to target North American and Latin American markets. Seven Samurai was among the first films offered for foreign sales.[3]

Toho and Shochiku competed with the influx of Hollywood films and boosted the film industry by focusing on new directors of the likes of Akira Kurosawa, Kon Ichikawa, Keisuke Kinoshita, Ishirō Honda, and Kaneto Shindo.[4]

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 films without the need to sell them to a distributor. It was known as the Toho Theatre from the late 1960s until the 1970s.[5] Toho also had a theater in San Francisco and opened a theater in New York City in 1963.[6] The Shintoho Company, which existed until 1961, was named New Toho because it broke off from the original company.[7] Toho has contributed to the production of some American films, including Sam Raimi's 1998 film, A Simple Plan[8] and Paul W. S. Anderson's 2020 military science fiction/kaiju film, Monster Hunter.[9]

In 2019, Toho invested ¥15.4 billion ($14 million) into their Los Angeles-based subsidiary Toho International Inc. as part of their "Toho Vision 2021 Medium-term Management Strategy", a strategy to increase content, platform, real-estate, beat JPY50 billion profits, and increase character businesses on Toho intellectual properties such as Godzilla. Hiroyasu Matsuoka was named the representative director of the US subsidiary.[10]

In 2020, Toho acquired a 34.8% stake in the animation studio TIA, with ILCA and Anima each retaining a 32.6% stake. In 2022, Toho acquired Anima's 32.6% stake to take a controlling 67.4% stake in TIA, making the studio a subsidiary, and ultimately renaming the studio into Toho Animation Studios.[11]

Productions and distributions[edit]





Toho Animation[edit]

Toho Animation is a Japanese anime production founded in 2012, and owned by Toho Co., Ltd., which is one of the top three film distributors in Japan.


Video games[edit]

In more recent years and for a period, they have produced video games. One of their first video games 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 (Space Megaforce in North America). They even worked with Bandai on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, released in Japan in 1988 and in the United States in 1989.

Significant employees[edit]

Toho Cinderella Audition[edit]

The Toho Cinderella Audition is an audition to discover new young actresses, first held in 1984 and irregularly held since then. It is considered one of Japan's "Big Three Actress Auditions", along with Oscar Promotion's National Bishōjo Contest and Horipro's Talent Scout Caravan.[20]

No. Year The Grand Prix Special Jury Prize Others
1 1984 Yasuko Sawaguchi Minako Fujishiro
2 1987 Megumi Odaka Maki Mizuno
3 1991 Keiko Imamura Sayaka Ōsawa
4 1996 Maho Nonami Misato Tanaka
Asami Yamamoto
5 2000 Masami Nagasawa Chihiro Otsuka
6 2006 Manami Kurose Yūko Masumoto
Ayaka Ikezawa
7 2011 Moka Kamishiraishi Mone Kamishiraishi
Narumi Akizuki
Junna Matsushima
Hirona Yamazaki
Ryō Ogawa (New Generation Award)
Minami Hamabe (New Generation Award)
8 2016 Riko Fukumoto Yuria Kakizawa
Hina Suzuki
Amane Kamiya
Neo Inoue
9 2022 Noa Shiroyama Airi Nishikawa Kōe Odani (Men's category "Toho New Face")
Honoha Yamato (Musical Award)


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.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Tanaka, Tomoyuki (1983). "Toho Special Effects Prehistory Films". The Complete History of Toho Special Effects Movies (in Japanese). Toho Publishing. pp. 82–83. ISBN 4-924609-00-5.
  2. ^ "東宝:有価証券報告書-第132期(令和2年3月1日-令和3年2月28日)". The Nikkei (in Japanese). Nikkei, Inc. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  3. ^ Ryfle & Godziszewski 2017, p. 148.
  4. ^ Kindem, Gorham Anders (2000). The international movie industry. Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press. p. 17.
  5. ^ Fox La Brea Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Cinema Treasures. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  6. ^ "Toho" Far East Film News December 25, 1963.
  7. ^ "Nudes! Guns! Ghosts! The Sensational Cinema of Shintoho". The Cinematheque. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  8. ^ Cox, Dan (December 21, 1997). "Fonda has 'A Simple Plan'". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  9. ^ "映画 モンスターハンター". Toho (in Japanese). Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  10. ^ Frater, Patrick (April 18, 2019). "'Godzilla' Owner Toho Poised for Expansion in Hollywood". Variety. Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  11. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (September 20, 2022). "TOHO Acquires Controlling Stake in TIA, Renames it to Toho Animation Studio". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  12. ^ "作品一覧/TOHO animation STORE | 東宝アニメーションストア". Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  13. ^ "作品一覧/PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス/TOHO animation STORE | 東宝アニメーションストア". Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  14. ^ "ファンタジスタドール – アニメ|東宝WEB SITE". Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  15. ^ "メガネブ! – アニメ|東宝WEB SITE". Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  16. ^ "アオハライド – アニメ|東宝WEB SITE". Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  17. ^ "『セブンナイツ レボリューション -英雄の継承者-』 – アニメ|東宝WEB SITE". Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  18. ^ "Kaiju No. 8 Manga Gets Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  19. ^ Galbraith, Stuart, IV (2002). The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune. Faber and Faber, Inc. pp. 25, 440. ISBN 978-0-571-19982-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ 日本経済新聞社・日経BP社. "長澤まさみらを輩出 「東宝シンデレラ」が新時代へ|エンタメ!|NIKKEI STYLE". NIKKEI STYLE (in Japanese). Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  21. ^ "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。"


  • Ryfle, Steve; Godziszewski, Ed (2017). Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 9780819570871.


  1. ^ The controlling shareholders of Toho are affiliated with the Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group. They are: Hankyu Hanshin Holdings (12.81%), Hankyu Hanshin Properties (8.51%), and H2O Retailing (7.67%).

External links[edit]