Noritoshi Kanai

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Noritoshi Kanai (金井紀年,[1] カナイ・ノリトシ) (February 25, 1923-April 22, 2017) was a Japanese-born executive of the Los Angeles branch of the food importer, Mutual Trading Company. He is sometimes credited with the idea of opening the first authentic sushi bar in the United States during the 1960s.[2]

Life and work[edit]

Kanai was born February 25, 1923 in Ochiai Village, Toyotama County, Tokyo.He graduated from the Tokyo College of Commerce(today's Hitotsubashi University).[3][4]

He worked for a Japanese affiliate company to Mutual Trading Company (共同貿易, Kyōdo Bōeki), Los Angeles, started by Sadagoro Hoshizaki, a merchant in Little Tokyo in 1926. This was a company to bring in Japanese foodstuff as a co-op operation from Japan.[5][6]

Kanai is sometimes credited with promoting the idea of opening a sushi counter on the premises of the Kawafuku restaurant in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. This restaurant is said to be the first authentic "sushi bar" in the United States, with a trained sushi chef from Japan.[7] Some sources agree that Kawafuku was the first American sushi bar, but merely acknowledge Mutual Trading as being the purveyor of sushi ingredients to the restaurant.[8]

Kanai was decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (kyokujitsu shōjushō) in Autumn 2009, recognized for his contributions in establishing the overseas voting system (在外投票, zaigai tōhyō) for Japanese living outside their country, and for promoting Japanese food culture in the United States.[1]

Noritoshi Kanai died at aged 94 on April 22, 2017.


  1. ^ a b Nagata, Jun (永田潤) (7 December 2009). "南加在住の叙勲受章者4人:伝達式で更なる貢献誓う" [4 Southern-Cal residents recipients of medals: pledge further contributions at award ceremony]. Rafu Shimpo. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  2. ^ "OBITUARY: Noritoshi Kanai, 94; Chairman of Mutual Trading Co". Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  3. ^ Kanai, Noritoshi N. "United States Public Records, 1970-2009". FamilySearch. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  4. ^ "YuYu interview Noritoshi Kanai". 30 April 2007. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  5. ^ Corson (2008), pp. 45-47, 295.
  6. ^ Issenberg (2007), pp. 85, 90.
  7. ^ Al-Jamie, Anthony (15 May 2013). "The Man who brought Sushi to America". Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  8. ^ Issenberg (2007), p. 88.