(Photos by MARIO  GERSHOM REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

Zenshuji Soto Mission in Little Tokyo continues their mochitsuki tradition of steaming sweet rice in wooden boxes and pounding the rice with wooden mallets called kine.

Children are also invited to pound rice using smaller mallets the size of croquet sticks. Then teams of fast-moving hands pinch and mold the hot pounded rice into large patties, kagami mochi, and smaller patties, komochi, for soups and toasty snacks.

Family and friends look forward to a day of getting together, working together and having fun, especially the past year as Zenshuji celebrated its 100th anniversary.

The temple was founded in 1922 as the first official branch of Soto Zen in North America. With the coming of the new year, members reflect on the value of traditions to maintain community and support future generations.

— Amy Honjyo

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