In the spring of 2012, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Brian Kito, the owner of Fugetsu-Do, a Japanese confectionery and the oldest surviving business in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo. Fugetsu-Do was founded in 1903 by Brian’s grandfather Seiichi Kito, who had immigrated from Japan in that year and decided to open a Japanese sweets shop with a couple friends. Seiichi eventually passed his business on to his child Roy, who subsequently passed the business on to his son Brian.
In this interview, Brian speaks of his family history and of the history of Fugetsu-Do, including stories from his parents’ and grandparents’ experiences during the incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II and their making of Japanese sweets such as mochi and manju even while in concentration camps.
Here is the shortened (5-minute) version of the interview. The full-length (23-minute) version is here: https://vimeo.com/52056407. For more information about Fugetsu-Do, please see their website at http://www.fugetsu-do.com/.
Special thanks to Mr. Brian Kito for sharing his story with me, and to Professor Lynne Miyake, Ms. Kristin Fukushima, and Mr. Adan Gallardo for assistance and support with this project.
Erika K. Carlson
Pomona College ’15