Toshiaki Toyoshima

(b. 1949) Sushi Chef - Owner of “Sushi Gen” in Little Tokyo

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Toshiaki Toyoshima was born on August 21, 1949 in Aomori Prefecture. In 1962, he moved to Tokyo at the age of 16 and received his training to become a chef as a live-in trainee at a sushi restaurant, while taking evening classes at the same time. Later he joined Sanchoukai, a chefs’ association, and worked at a number of sushi restaurants. In 1973, he signed a contract to work at a restaurant, Tokyo Kaikan, in Los Angeles for three years, and moved to America. After finishing the contract, he went back to Japan once but was asked by Tokyo Kaikan to work for them again, which led him to sign another contract of three years and return to Los Angeles. Upon completing his second contract, he decided to stay in America, and in 1980, he opened “Sushi Gen” in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. He worked for the foundation of Aomori Kenjinkai (prefectural association) of Southern California and contributed to the development of nikkei communities in Los Angeles. In addition, he became the first chairperson of the Nebuta Performance Preservation Committee in 2007, and has committed to the inheritance of Japanese culture. In 2015, he received an award by the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles. (May 2018)

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