by Citlali Moreno & Raylene Guzman
In hopes of keeping his family’s legacy alive, senior Korey Kito regularly assists at his family’s mochi shop, Fugetsu-Do.
“I tend to help my family when I can,” said Kito, “I usually go during the winter when it gets busy.”
It has been over a century since the store opened, and it is still thriving. According to the family website, Fugetsu-Do has been a family-owned and operated confectionery store since 1903 and is well-known for its mochi.
“Mochi is a Japanese round rice cake made with sticky, sweet rice. It’s not like your regular day-to-day rice,” said Kito.
During the time when Kito serves an assortment of mochi flavors to customers, one of them stands out, as it shares a special connection to him.
“My family decided to name the chocolate mochi as ‘Korey’s mochi’ which is actually one of the popular items,” said Kito.
Traditionally mochi was presented as an offering to gods and is a popular dish at the beginning of the new year.
“New Year’s is the busiest time of the year for the shop so I help my family more,” said Kito.
Over the course of the last five years, Kito has spent time learning how to make the delicacy and master the trade.
Fugetsu-Do is unique in its traditionally-made mochi, since it is made by pounding steamed glutinous rice in a large wooden mortar, called the usu, with a wooden mallet called the kine.
As a trainee, Kito helps his family in order to prepare him for the future as manager of the shop. He decorates the sweets and aids in the process of making them.
“I love working here, and I plan on taking over the shop when I get older. There is not a lot of competition, since the shop is in Little Tokyo and new stores that opened have not affected us,” said Kito.
Fugetsu-Do is located at 315 East First St. in Los Angeles. It is open Sunday to Thursday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7pm.