Japanese seed beads are among the most popular seed beads produced today. Along with Czech beads, Japanese seed beads dominate the market.

Late in the 18th Century, Japanese craftsmen used European bead-making techniques and invested in Chinese glass facilities. Combined, they used these resources of raw materials and expertise to stimulate their own industry which is now booming throughout the world.

The shape of Japanese seed beads are extremely regular, and make perfectly uniform bead-work possible. Each bead appears exactly the same, and for this reason they are widely used in woven jewelry, loom work, flat, brick and peyote stitch.

All Japanese seed beads have large holes and thin walls, which is excellent for weaving as many threads can go back through each bead.

Japanese seed beads are never sold by the hank - they are always sold by weight. Japanese seed beads are slightly larger than Czech beads of the same size, and have a comparably larger hole compared to all seed beads.

There are a few particular bead shapes that are a product of the Japanese seed bead industry, and are not produced anywhere else in the world.

Shapes of Japanese seed beads


Japanese hex-cut beads are made to have six sides while still in the beginnings of production. This is done before the long cane of glass is cut into individual beads, the cane of glass itself is made to have six sides.

Each bead that is cut from this cane has this distinctive hex-cut shape, allowing it to glitter and sparkle in the light.


Miyuki is the most famous Japanese seed bead brand that produces the delica-cut bead. Also called cylinder beads, these perfectly uniform seed beads look like short tubes or donuts.

Rows and columns that are woven with the delica are perfectly uniform, flat and completely ideal for weave work.


There are some Japanese seed beads that are triangle-cut have three sides. The corners can be rounded or crisp, and their appearance in bead work depends on which side of the triangle is facing out. It could be the flat face, or the corner, making this made quite variable and interesting in beaded projects.


The cube shaped Japanese seed beads are smooth, square beads with four sides. They can have rounded or crisp corners, and produce some interesting effects when woven.


Japanese seed beads that use the bugle shape are generally much slimmer than normal. These long, flat cylinder shaped beads can come flat or in a twisted shape to produce some beautiful optical effects in the light.

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