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Fortune Cookie Production at Benkyodo, San Francisco - ca 1914-1941 - WWII - 1946-1958


This Album contains illustrations, photographs and explaination of what I remember of Benkyodo's production of fortune cookies after WWII. This is a supplement to the two-part essay,  "Japanese American Fortune Cookie," I wrote for the Discover Nikkei Journal. The rough drawings are mine as I best recall what I witnessed in the late-40s - early 50's, when Benkyodo, my maternal grandfather's Japanese confectionary business was restarted following the Okamura and Ono families release from Amache, of the ten Concentration Camps of WWII America, with the help of my mother, Kim and father, Sam Masami Ono. The pre-war sembei machine was reassembled in the second Benkyodo location, 1602 Geary Street Post-WWII.

The photographs of the Katas I took were in a storage area used by Benkyodo. The Meiji era woodblock print is from an article produced by Dr. Yasuko Nakamachi, then a graduate student of Kanagawa University, who's thesis was on the original Japanese fortune cookie, the Tsujiura Sembei.

Please check out the link below to access and read a more complete story about the origin of the fortune cookie. It was written in 2007 and describes the little known story of how a Japanese confectionary became the Chinese Fortune Cookie.

Japanese American Fortune Cookie: A Taste of Fame or Fortune >>

Slides in this album 

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