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Father's career as a manjyu maker

In looking back on his career, I tried to find out where he trained in Japan. And my cousin in Japan tried to trace also where he worked. We found out on my last trip to Japan that he actually worked at a manjyu (sweet red bean confectionery) shop called Fugetsu in Gifu City. And then I think he also took some training in Kyoto because the manjyu and all the products that he made are very, very sophisticated. You don’t see this kind of thing in Tokyo...I mean in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. He had...he made everything – all the different kinds of manjyu. He made forms – the peaches, apples, and he colored them and he made reproductions of chrysanthemums. He made pictures in yōkan (a thick jellied sweet red bean). He made all kinds of okashi (confectionery) besides the manjyukasutera (Japanese sponge cake), he made mochi (rice cake) of course, he made kakimochi (rice cracker).

And I remember the store. It was on Broadway and Tacoma. The address – I still remember – is 1510 Broadway. Well the last time I went to Tacoma, a month ago for a Tacoma reunion, this site is now the Tacoma Convention Center, which is right there. But at any rate, I remember the store. He had, I think, 3 or 4 showcases that were always filled with okashi and manjyu. At first, we had...the store was there and we lived upstairs in the hotel. Then later we rented a home as I remember. Of course we had access to all the manjyu we...any time, it was so good.

But you know after he retired here in Oregon, he opened a shop here in Portland because he wanted something to do. He made a few manjyu and yōkan. He did this for maybe 5, 6 years. Then unfortunately, the building was demolished because the freeway had to go through and he had to quit. But he would make manjyu for us at home. And so we’re used to the best and so whenever we go elsewhere and get manjyu, why, we’re kind of spoiled.

confectioneries Fugetsu (confectionery store) Gifu Prefecture Japan Japanese confections manju

Date: December 6, 2005

Location: Oregon, US

Interviewer: Akemi Kikumura Yano

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Toshio Inahara was born in Seattle, Washington, the first of four brothers. At age three, he moved with his family to Japan, returning after six months to Tacoma where his father established a successful Japanese confectionery, “Fugetsu.” Toshio’s father wanted his sons to grow up in the country, so the family moved to a farm 30 miles west of Portland, Oregon, in 1931.

In response to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, West Coast Japanese Americans were ordered to evacuate to Assembly Centers, but the Inahara family obtained a travel permit to relocate inland to Ontario, near the Eastern Oregon border. Toshio volunteered for service in the US Air Force in 1942, but was rejected because of his Japanese ancestry.

After two years of family farming, Toshio was accepted at the University of Wisconsin, where he studied pre-med courses, eventually earning his M.D. in 1950 from the University of Oregon. Following internship and residency, he trained in vascular surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and then returned to Portland to establish a private practice and serve as a clinical instructor in surgery at the University of Oregon Medical School.

Dr. Inahara is one of the world’s foremost authorities on carotid endarterectomy and is co-inventor of the Pruitt-Inahara Carotid Shunt.(December 6, 2005)