The search for Japanese ingredients was a challenge since the closure of the medium-sized Japanese grocery store known as Mitsuwa Marketplace in Downtown Los Angeles. Little Tokyo, an ethnic Japanese American historic district lost one of its oldest Japanese supermarket several years ago. Is this the decline of Japanese foods, culture, and arts? The long answer, Never. Mitsuwa Marketplace has at least 9 stores in the United States and that doesn’t include the millions of online orders across North America. The food court has many traditional foods, such as sushi, bento boxes, tempura, ramen, and even natto. It has many individual stores inside the marketplace that support Japanese manga, books, art, cosmetics, fashion, games, and entertainment.
The decline of ethnic Japanese Supermarkets in the United States might be the incorporation of Japanese foods in American supermarkets. Of course there are many Japanese food distributors like JFC and Shirakiku have a variety of products in Whole Foods, Farmers Market, Safeway, and other non-Japanese supermarkets. Even places like 7-11 have sushi but it’s sort of a joke for many Japanese Americans. On the other side of the token, that could be said for microwaveable burgers sold in tiny convenient stores in Tokyo or Harajuku, Japan. It’s very rare to see chefs cooking American food in supermarkets in Japan, but you might see random sushi men or women preparing Sushi or other Japanese dishes inside supermarkets in the United States. Especially in bourgeois parts of Hollywood filled with celebrities, and other affluent cities on the West coast. Once upon a time when Japanese brands like Hello Kitty and Naruto were sold exclusively in Japanese supermarkets; they are now mainstream toys and accessories that can be found abundantly at any Walmart, or Target stores.
For decades, Japanese manufacturers from the auto industry, entertainment/fashion industry, to the tech industry have dominated the United States and Western nations during the 1980s but a lot has changed since then and these industries have been mitigated due to more global competition in the marketplace. Although this Japanese wave of cultural dominance isn’t a tsunami anymore, it will never lose it’s momentum.