Toei Company, Ltd. (東映株式会社 Tōei Kabushiki-gaisha?) (pronounced toe ay) is a Japanese film, television production, and distribution corporation. Based in Tokyo, Toei owns and operates thirty-four movie theaters across Japan, studios at Tokyo and Kyoto; and is a shareholder in several television companies. It is notable for anime, live action dramas known as tokusatsu which use special visual effects, and historical dramas (jidaigeki).
The name "Toei" is derived from the company's former name "Tōkyō Eiga Haikyū" (東京映画配給?, Tokyo Film Distribution Company).
Tokyo-Yokohama Films (東横映画 Tō-Yoko Eiga?), incorporated 1938, had previously erected its facilities immediately east of the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line; they managed the Tōkyū Shibuya Yokohama studio system prior to V-J Day. From 1945 through the Toei merger, Tokyo-Yokohama Films leased from the Daiei Motion Picture Company a second studio in Kyoto. Through the merger, they gained the combined talents and experience of actors Chiezō Kataoka, Utaemon Ichikawa, Ryunosuke Tsukigata, Ryūtarō Ōtomo, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Chiyonosuke Azuma, Shirunosuke Toshin, Hashizo Okawa and Satomi Oka.
On October 1, 1950, the Tokyo Film Distribution Company was incorporated; in 1951 the company purchased Ōizumi Films.
In 1956, Toei established an animation division, Toei Animation Company, Limited at the former Tokyo-Ōizumi animation studio, purchasing the assets of Japan Animated Films (originally founded in 1948).
Toei was a pioneer in the use of "Henshin"/"character transformation" in live-action martial-arts dramas, a technique developed for the Kamen Rider, Devilman and Super Sentai series; the genre currently continues with Kamen Rider and Super Sentai.