On April 19, 1926, Mutual Trading Co. Inc. was conceived in Los Angeles by the coming together of ten Japanese food store owners. Back then food importing from Japan was called “Takuwan Boeki” or the “Japanese Pickle Trade”. Its origin is deeply rooted in the hearts of the early immigrants, yearning for the nostalgic taste of home faraway.
Company expansion, 1968
In Los Angeles, California
In 1968, Mutual Trading moved to a new warehouse, which boasted 15,000 square feet of storage space. Current CEO Noritoshi Kanai had an ambitious dream of popularizing sushi in the US. The introduction of sushi into the American market was a high risk venture as he was told by everyone, “Americans don’t eat raw fish…period”.
Opening of Miyako Market, 1970
In Fort Lee, New Jersey
Mutual Trading chose a conservative approach by establishing an antenna shop in the form of a Japanese grocery store. Miyako Market opened its doors in Fort Lee, NJ, where they built a solid customer base.
Start of New York Mutual Trading Inc., 1972
In Paramus, New Jersey
There was a staff of just three to start, but they struggled to build steady clients and to become a trusted Japanese food supplier in the New York area.
Kanai, Inaba & Harry Wolff Jr become first exporters of Beringer wines to Japan, 1975
Current Chairman Kanai met food sales consultant Harry Wolff Jr, who told him, “Kanai, if you want to succeed in business here in America, you need a good lawyer, a good doctor and good friends”. Mutual Trading hired Wolff, who played a vital role in the company’s success.
Japanese Food Boom, 1980
In 1977 there were 228 Japanese restaurants in Southern California, 39 of which had sushi bars. In 1980 that number jumped to 373, with 116 of which had sushi bars. On September 1, 1980, Nikkei newspaper reported that the number of Japanese restaurants in New York had reached 200.
Started Japanese Food and Restaurant Show
in 1990 In Los Angeles, California
in 1993 In New Jersey/New York
Every fall Mutual Trading organizes an annual Japanese Food and Restaurant Show for trade businesses in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and New York with more than 60 vendors from the U.S. and Japan to highlight new products. We also invite specialists and chefs to conduct seminars and/or cooking demonstrations at the event.
Opened Japanese Culinary Center on April 15, 2009
The Japanese Culinary Center (JCC) opens as NYMTC’s Manhattan showroom. A one stop shop for professionals and culinary enthusiasts with an interest in Japanese culinary culture.