Toyoko Film Company (東横映画)

Toyoko Film Company (established June 8, 1938 and merged on March 31, 1951) was Japan's film company, but it no longer exists. With capital from Tokyu Corporation, the company began its business with the management of movie theaters. After World War II, the company began producing movies at the Daiei No. 2 Studio at Uzumasa, Kyoto, by people from the former Manchuria Film Association. The company is known as a predecessor of the Toei Company.

A brief history

The company was established on June 8, 1938 as an affiliate of Tokyo Yokohama Dentetsu (Tokyo Yokohama Electric Railway), which later became Tokyu Corporation. The company commenced operations with Keita GOTO from Tokyo Yokohama Dentetsu as the president, having capitalization of 300,000 yen, and functioned as a performance-facility management company. The company managed the Toyoko News Theatre, which had opened in Shibuya in March 1938, and the Gotanda Toyoko Theatre, which opened in November of the same year. In 1943, Showa Kogyo, Shinjuku Kogyo and Keihin Kogyo merged, increasing their capital to 500,000 yen, and the company expanded to manage a total of seven theaters.

In March 1944, Mutsumi URAKAWA assumed the president's post. In 1945, all the theatres that they managed were burned down as the result of an air raid. The war ended on August 15, 1945, and in December a movie theater opened in Jujo. On the first day of 1946, a three-screen movie theater opened within the Toyoko Department Store in Shibuya for screenings of Daiei and Shochiku movies, and three other theater opened as well. In February of the same year, Shozo KUROKAWA, who was the executive managing director of the Tokyu Head Office, was appointed as president, in which capacity he held two posts. Within the same year, the Gotanda Toyoko Theatre was reconstructed, a movie theater opened in Shinjuku and Tamagawaen was purchased, increasing the capital to three million yen. In November, movie production and distribution were added to the articles of incorporation, and the company moved forward in cooperation with Daiei.

In 1947, an agreement was executed with Daiei and preparations began to produce movies at the Daiei No. 2 studio. In September, capital was increased to twenty million yen and the Daiei No. 2 studio became the Toyoko Movie Studio, commencing movie production by people from the former Manchuria Film Association. The first movie produced was "Kokoro Tsuki no gotoku" (My Heart Is Like the Moon), directed by Hiroshi INAGAKI and starring Ken UEHARA and Yukiko TODOROKI. The film was distributed by Daiei and opened to the public on September 16.

In May 1949, capital was increased to fifty million yen, and in September of that year Ryotoku HIGA was appointed president, taking over the post formerly held by Kurokawa. On October 1, 'Tokyo Eiga Haikyu' (Tokyo Film Distribution Company) was established and the distribution operation was transferred from Daiei to the new company. The first movie after the establishment of the distribution company was "Jigokumon" (Gates of Hell), directed by Sadatsugu MATSUDA and starring Chiezo KATAOKA; it was released on November 20. In December of the same year, Koshichi SUZUKI assumed the leadership of the company from Higa.

On April 1, 1951, Toyoko Film Company, Oizumi Films and Tokyo Film Distribution Company merged to establish Toei. Toyoko Movie Studio became the Toei Kyoto Movie Studio and the Oizumi Movie Studio became the Toei Tokyo Movie Studio, and the distribution and box office operation of the Tokyo Film Distribution Company was reorganized as Toei Company, Ltd., comprising the head office, branch office and directly managed movie theaters.

[Original Japanese]