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First Sushi-ya in America and the inventor of the California Roll

Michael Mar 28, 2003 01:22 PM

Hi all!

I'm researching a paper on Sushi in America and remember reading something on how the first Sushi-ya in America was in Little Tokyo. It opened in the mid 60s? I have also read that the California Roll was invented at a Sushi-ya there...

Anyone have any more information???


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  1. c
    Chris G. RE: Michael Mar 28, 2003 01:28 PM

    I'm not sure what the first sushi-ya in America was, but allegedly the California roll was invented at Teru sushi in Little Tokyo - I believe in the '70s.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chris G.
      Chris G. RE: Chris G. Mar 28, 2003 01:38 PM

      Sorry - I was wrong. I just did a search to confirm this and I mixed up details from a Jonathan Gold article in the L.A. Weekly I read a while back. The article mentioned an unspecified restaurant in Little Tokyo - Teru Sushi (in the valley) was his current pick for a California roll. Maybe you should send an e-mail to Mr. Gold via the L.A. Weekly for more info.

    2. p
      PayOrPlay RE: Michael Mar 28, 2003 02:17 PM

      Here are two internet sites that assert that California Roll was invented by Mr. Ichiro Mashita [or Manashita] from Tokyo Kaikan [in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles] in 1960 or 1970. Sounds like a subject for cultural anthropologists.

      (see Essay #5

      Link: http://www.thesushibar.com/ssushi_chi...

      1. l
        Lord Lipitor RE: Michael Mar 28, 2003 05:42 PM

        I used to eat Tokyo Kaikan all the time circa 1970. It was defnitely the place to go for sushi in that era (they also had tempura and teppan bars). But I can't remember when California Roll first appeared, although there is a novel by that name published in 1985.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Lord Lipitor
          Richard Gould-Saltman RE: Lord Lipitor Mar 28, 2003 05:59 PM

          I have a vague recollection of a California-roll-like sushi either at Kaikan or at Ichiban Cafe (just south of the corner of 1st and Los Angeles, if my memory does not fail me) when I was working downtown on Hill, which would have been 1979-81. Can someone push it back further?


          1. re: Richard Gould-Saltman
            Chris G. RE: Richard Gould-Saltman Mar 29, 2003 02:33 AM

            I remember that California rolls were pretty common in 1980 - 81 (when I was going to UCLA I'd get them at New Meiji takeout on Santa Monica when I was slumming or at Horikawa when my grant check came in). I'm sure the origin has to go back several years before that.

            1. re: Richard Gould-Saltman
              tony RE: Richard Gould-Saltman Jul 18, 2003 04:59 PM

              It was invented by my dad, Ichiro Mashita.
              Check the local japanese newspaper, rafu shimpo,
              that wrote about all the local japanese news.

            2. re: Lord Lipitor
              russkar RE: Lord Lipitor Mar 28, 2003 09:51 PM

              I was there too since 77'

            3. c
              Chris G. RE: Michael Mar 30, 2003 07:35 PM

              According to the website at the following link, the first sushi restaurant in the U.S. was Kawafuka in L.A.'s Little Tokyo, which opened in 1960. Maybe a search for Kawafuka will turn up more info.

              Link: http://www.icubed.com/~yasu/History.htm

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