TOHO seed beads are manufactured in Japan. We all know them and use them for a variety of projects. It seems like they have been around forever, but in fact their history is very short by the glass making standards. You will be quite surprised to learn that history of glass beads making in Japan goes back only a few decades. It has all started in Hiroshima Fukuyama area in the early 1930s where a small “mom-and-pop” operations were founded to supply local artists with small glass beads. Most of the artists were connected to the kabuki theatre and adorned costumes and accessories for the plays, with tiny beads. After about two decades of operation one of these micro businesses was incorporated into TOHO, a full scale factory and the industrial scale production was launched in 1952.
Toho seed beads are pressed from glass rods and heated until they are smooth and shiny. They are available in hundreds of colors and many finishes. TOHO colors are standardised and numbered so you can always find the right one to complete your project.
Round Seed beads are sized by number – the higher the number, the smaller the bead,…, 15º seed beads are smaller than 8º.
Toho makes popular, cylindrical Bugle Beads.
TOHO manufactures Cube beads with a large hole.
Toho seed beads are generally more consistent in shape and have larger holes than Czech seed beads, allowing more passes of beading thread. Toho has a competitor in Japan called Miyuki which was founded around the same time and has a similar history.