March 1, 2018 admin

While many 17 year olds may be preoccupied with high school hierarchy or following the every move of famous-for-no-reason celebrities, one in particular has chosen to carry the weight of his family’s legacy and community on his back.

I had the pleasure of spending time with the Kito family, owners of Fugetsu-Do in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, for a history lesson and an unexpected peek into the future. Fugetsu-Do is a family owned Japanese confectionery that opened in 1903 and is the oldest Japanese-American business in the United States. Started by Seiichi Kito, which is now sailing on it’s 114th year, the little shop with bountiful character specializes in handmade mochi and manju.

Korey Kito, a senior at Schurr High School in Montebello, California, has taken it upon himself to carry on the tradition while also recognizing the importance he holds for the Japanese-American community. Most would assume he’s obligated for the simple fact that he was born into the craft however he quickly shut that notion down, “I’ve wanted to do this my entire life and keep Fugetsu-Do’s history, hopefully keep it open for another 100 years.”

Words his father Brian would be happy to hear, after all it was his late father, Roy, who was delighted when Brian chose the same path. As Brian states, “When Korey was born in 2000, we actually lived here in Little Tokyo. He came to our store everyday as an infant and so he’s shown skills set, he’s actually been able to make kuri manju which some people just cannot learn.”

I initially came to speak with Brian on the history and process of Fugetsu-Do, unbeknownst to me he had a 17 year old son that was ready, able and willing to take on the responsibility. After witnessing the solid foundation set by his great grandfather, I am pleased to say we are all in good hands, flour covered hands that is.

– Maki







– Maki

Suffer, then Master

Comments (7)

  1. Grace Inouye 1 year ago


  2. Eddie Morioka 1 year ago

    My wife Marion recently passed away from cancer. Whenever we were in Little Tokyo we would always stop in to Fugetsudo to buy her favorite manju “pink and whites”.

  3. Irene M. 1 year ago

    Remarkable young man. Tons of praises to him.
    We need our bota mochi, Sakura & kuri manjus for the generations to come. As well the present 😋

  4. Janice 1 year ago

    Thank you Korey!

  5. hideki obayashi 1 year ago

    Thank you, Korey and Brian! Can you open one in Seattle?

  6. Jeanne Nozawa 1 year ago

    Korey…..we’re so happy that you will continue the Fugetsu-do……know your great grandfather is watching over you!! I know that Fugetsu-do sends some to Japanese grocery store here! Know your dad and mom are very proud of you, as are all the relatives!!! Thank you for carrying on the “Kito” tradition!!!
    Love to all…..Eddie and Jeanne

  7. Laurel Nakamoto 10 months ago

    Dear Korey,
    Just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed “Korey’s Chocolate Mochi.” Of course, we love the traditional manju and just tried the chocolate to see. Met you at Higashi Obon this year (2018), and it was our pleasure.

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