Organic vegan Japanese restaurant
Organic vegan Japanese resta...

Organic vegan Japanese resta...

Organic vegan Japanese resta...

Organic vegan Japanese restaurant
Popularity has resulted in two L.A. locations

By Keiko Fukuda

“Shojin” located in a shopping mall in downtown Los Angeles is a vegan restaurant where only organic vegetables are used for their dishes, but you can still enjoy the taste of authentic and creative Japanese cuisine. This reputation has been attracting vegan and gluten-free food lovers not only from all over California, but even from overseas. In order to respond to the requests from the regular visitors, the second restaurant opened in Culver City in March of 2013.

The core of this restaurant is its concept that has 4 principles; organically grown chemical-free ingredients, natural ingredients with no additives for the concern of the health of the customers, body-pleasing macrobiotic cooking originated in Japan, and vegan food which means no meat, fish, eggs or milk.

The owner, Mr. Tsuguhiro Morishima is so particular about the ingredients. He says, “There are several different ranks of organic state. We check the contents, and select what is closest possible to their natural state, and make sure that there are no additives. The price won’t affect the selection. Our head chef is a skilled cook who studied the traditional way of how to add flavors in Japanese cuisine in Japan, and is able to utilize the natural energies of the ingredients that are organic vegetables, takes them and gives them a nice subtle flavor. He makes everything - even sauces and dressings from scratch. He selects the ingredients and cooks them as a mother cooks for her children at home, so to speak.”

However, as successful as they are now, the first 3 years from the opening of the first restaurant in 2008 was a struggle. “We managed to stay in business thanks to the regular customers who agreed with and supported our concept.”

Mr. Morishima analyzes the success as follows: While many other restaurants aim for better numbers in sales and lowering of cost, we rather strived for making healthy Japanese cuisine that would impress customers. The slow but steady efforts for that goal might have been well understood and conveyed to the outside through our regular customers, and resulted in bringing people even from overseas now. Another contributing factor is the characteristic of the city of Los Angeles where many people have a strong consciousness about health and love for animals, and those people, including celebrities, are naturally attracted to the concept.”

Through his career, Mr. Morishima worked for French and Japanese restaurants in Japan, and then became in charge of hiring, educating, and allocating the staff as the chief of the banquet room staff. Moreover, he has handled big banquets for as many as 2,000 people in hotel weddings, catering events, or cruising parties with VIP including royalty and government officials. The head chef, Mr. Jun Matoshiro who built his career in Japanese cuisine in Japan has been with this restaurant since 2011.

Lastly, I asked Mr. Morishima about his future goals. He said, “I remember what a well-known Michelin chef once said. He said that chefs who can create dishes that not only taste good, but also provide health to the customers will be the true chefs of the future. Many of Shojin’s customers have allergies or cannot eat certain foods. I strongly hope that we can help such customers enjoy the experience of eating out without worry. I know that some children cannot eat birthday cakes due to allergies, so they just blow out the candles. I would like to offer such children and even adults the cakes they can eat safely. In order to realize his hope, he will open a dessert shop “Pomegranate” in April with the same concept as Shojin; Organic, natural, vegan, and gluten-free.







最後に、森島さんに今後の目標を聞いた。「あるフランスの有名なミシュランシェフの言葉を覚えています。『これからの時代は、ただ美味しいだけではなく、お客様の健康を作り出せるシェフこそが本物のシェフである』と。SHOJINに来るお客様は、アレルギーがあったり、何か食べられない物があったりする方が中心です。そんなお客様が安全に安心して楽しく外食ができるようになれば、と強く願っています。また、誕生日にキャンドルを吹き消すだけでアレルギーが原因でケーキを口にできない子供がいます。そんな子供や大人たちに安心して食べられるケーキを提供したい。そこで、SHOJINと同じコンセプト、ORGANIC,NATURAL,VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREのデザートショップ「ポメグラネイトPOMEGRANATE」を4月にオープンさせます」

Little Tokyo Shopping Center 3F, 333 S Alameda St #310, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States

Monday - Friday
5:30 - 11:00 p.m. (L.C. 10:30 p.m.)
12 - 11:00 p.m. (L.C. 10:30 p.m.)
12 - 10:00 p.m. (L.C. 9:30 p.m.)