Dignitaries perform the kagami-biraki ceremony at the opening of Mitsuwa Marketplace in Northridge on Jan. 21. (Photo courtesy Mitsuwa Marketplace)
City Councilmember John Lee (left) presents a city proclamation to Takeshi Izuma, Mitsuwa CEO.


NORTHRIDGE — Eager patrons waited in a long line on Saturday morning as Mitsuwa Marketplace opened a new store in Northridge.

The Japanese market is located on 8940 Tampa Ave., close to Cal State Northridge. The Northridge store is the company’s fourth location in the Los Angeles area, following Torrance Del Amo, Santa Monica and San Gabriel. There are also locations in Irvine and Costa Mesa, making a total of 12 stores in the U.S.

Yoko Kifune of TJS Radio hosted the grand opening, which featured performances by Asano Taiko.

Among the dignitaries present for the celebration were Consul General Kenko Sone; L.A. City Councilmember John Lee; Hidetaka Iinuma, vice president of JFC International; and Atsuko Kanai, vice president of Mutual Trading Co.

Junichi Kamei, director and senior advisor of Kamei Corp., was among the speakers. At left is emcee Yoko Kifune.

Junichi Kamei, director and senior advisor of Kamei Corp. in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, welcomed the expansion of Mitsuwa into the San Fernando Valley. Kamei Corp. has been the parent company of Mitsuwa since 2012.

Founded in 1903 as a general merchandiser dealing in sugar and wheat, Kamei expanded to celebrate its 120th anniversary this year with its business centered on grocery, housing and energy. They opened an Exxon gas station in Torrance in April 1974.

In his speech introducing the parent company, Kamei emphasized the significance of Japanese supermarkets, remembering that Yaohan, the predecessor of Mitsuwa, was his lifeline while he lived in Southern California 35 or so years ago as a foreign student studying abroad.

Asano Taiko performs at the grand opening.

Lee noted that when his family moved to Northridge in 1978, there were very few places to get Asian products. He presented a proclamation from the city of Los Angeles to Takeshi Izuma, Mitsuwa CEO.

“We’re always proud to bring new businesses here and new experiences, but when you bring a company that has the reputation like Mitsuwa we’re even more excited,” Lee said. “I think you’ll find a community that’s going to welcome you with open arms. … Sometimes it’s harder to find those specific ingredients so it’s nice to know when I venture into cooking Japanese food I have a store right here that I can come and visit and shop at.”

Patrons wait outside for the opening of Mitsuwa Marketplace.

Photos by RONA MINAMI/Rafu Shimpo (except where noted)

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