Fujimatsu Moriguchi starts fishcake business in Tacoma that evolves into Uwajimaya in 1928.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 4/09/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3185
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In 1928, Fujimatsu Moriguchi (d. 1962) starts selling homemade fishcakes in Tacoma from the back of his truck to Japanese laborers working in logging and fishing camps. His business will evolve into Uwajimaya, the Pacific Northwest's largest Asian retail store, located in Seattle's International District.

Fujimatsu Moriguchi married Sadako Tsutakawa (1907-2002) and they eventually had seven children. (Sadako was the sister of the renowned Northwest artist George Tsutakawa.) The family spent World War II at the Tule Lake internment camp in California, where three of the children were born. After the war, they returned to Seattle and opened a store on S Main Street.

During Seattle's 1962 World's Fair the store expanded and began offering gifts and Asian delicacies to a non-Japanese clientele. Sadly, in the summer of 1962, the founder passed away during this period of expansion and success.

He left the store to his four sons, and they in turn divided ownership shares with their sisters and with their mother, Sadako Moriguchi (d. 2002). Their son Tomio Moriguchi now serves as CEO, and six of the seven children are involved as key members of the business.

In 1970, the store moved to 6th Avenue S and S King Street. In that era it became the largest Japanese supermarket in the Pacific Northwest. In November 2002, Uwajimaya moved across the street to a two-block square mixed-use site. Uwajimaya now (2003) has retail stores in Bellevue, Washington, and in Beaverton, Oregon.


Walt Crowley with Paul Dorpat (Photography Editor), National Trust Guide: Seattle (New York: John Wiley & Son, Inc., 1998), 62; "Company History of Uwajimaya," Uwajimaya website accessed December 4, 2003(http://www.uwajimaya.com).
Note: This Timeline essay was updated on December 4, 2003.

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