Densho Digital Archive
Topaz Museum Collection
Title: Grace F. Oshita Interview
Narrator: Grace F. Oshita
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Date: June 4, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-ograce-01-0021

<Begin Segment 21>

MA: So what happened to the, your miso business? Your mother took it over when your father passed away, and how long did, was it in business for?

GO: She was doing fine, but she was getting tired, really tired. And just at that moment, I mean, it's her good luck, I guess, a Japanese company -- well, there were several Japanese miso companies in L.A. area now, or here and there, I guess. I don't know whether there's one in Seattle or not, but this representative came and said they're from this -- I can't remember the name -- miso company that they had established in Los Angeles. And, "Is there any possibility that you might want to sell your brand, recipe to us?" And my mother was just, all ready to just trash everything, forget it all, see, because she was getting up there and she just wanted to take it easy anymore. And so it was just an opportune time that the Japanese company came and bought the business. So it just continues with the brand that -- it's a green container, labeling, and on one side there's a Japanese woman. She's supposedly mixing the... not mixing, it's actually mashing the cooked soybeans and rice together. And you know how Japanese have that brown bowl that has, it's very rough on the inside, and when they want to... they don't call it mashing, what do they call it? They take that stick and smooth it down.

MA: Right, right.

GO: Well, that's what the old fashioned homemade miso is, bowl is used for, but anymore... well, we do put it through what they call a hamburger machine, 'cause they like, especially the rice part, to be all mashed up, you know, rather than be hard-cored.

MA: So the logo, you were saying, on the packaging, had this picture of a woman doing that?

GO: Yeah, on the back, uh-huh.

MA: On the back.

GO: Yeah, it always had it on the back, and then the front has that kanemasa. "Kane" is that half a square on the outside, and "masa" is... well, "masa," one way of reading it is "correct," it's "right" or "correct." So in other words, this business is a square, I mean, I think that's... but anyway, it comes from, or he had, Grandfather got it from a relative. Maybe it was, maybe it was one of his, or another brother, I think it was all brothers. I don't even know how many brothers they had in the Fujimoto family. [Laughs]

MA: That's great, though, that they were able to keep the, you know, that same look...

GO: Yes.

MA: ...when they took over, when the Japanese company took over.

GO: Uh-huh. They do use the label and the original red, orangey-red and green label colors. They don't call it Fujimoto anymore, I think they use that logo, kanemasa yet, but they don't even call it kanemasa, it's just miso.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.