TOHO Beads

Mr Yamanaka corrected
TOHO beads was founded in 1951 by Ichiji Yamanaka in Hiroshima, Japan.

Mr. Yamanaka’s Story written in 2005

In 1951, I established TOHO Beads as a glass bead maker.  At the time I was 29 years old and my wife was 25.  We were still amateurs in the bead business and we worked hand in hand.

Recalling my old days, the only guidance we could rely on at that time were about 10 books about glassworks, such and the “Glass Handbook”.  Following the instructions and drawings in the books, we gingerly melted raw materials, like natural sand and multiple chemicals, in small pots heated over 1400 degrees to create glass canes.  I also added several different coloring agents to make the canes red, blue and black colors depending on the demands.  Since we were not skillful enough, we experienced a series of failures and the only thing I could do was to pray to my God for success.

When I first succeeded in creating a green color glass cane I brought it home to show by wife with a flush of achievement.  That was one of the highlights in my life, as I will never forget sharing that exciting moment with her.  We stared at each other and had tears running down our cheeks.

We worked hard in a small barrack, as our factory, for many years.  My wife also worked with me and took a lead among our employees in cutting the glass canes.  She has dedicated most of her life to the works in the factory and it was her who was pleased most when I succeeded in designing our own cutting machine.

Currently, we have more that 10,000 kinds of beads available in many different shapes and sizes.  This achievement was made possible by the great efforts and contributions of our employees.  My wife, Aiko, has also worked hand in hand with me to ensure our success.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our employees, my wife and you, the readers for the unlimited affection you have for our beads and company.

Mr. Ichiji Yamanaka

Founder, TOHO Bead