LOS ANGELES (AP) – Frances Hashimoto, a Little Tokyo business and civic leader whose Los Angeles company popularized the Japanese-style treat known as mochi ice cream, has died. She was 69.
Hashimoto died of lung cancer on Sunday at her Pasadena home, her husband, Joel Friedman, said Wednesday.
“She was an angel on earth,” he said. “She always gave and gave and gave to the Japanese community.”
Hashimoto was born in a World War II internment camp in Poston, Ariz.
In 1970, she took over Mikawaya, a confectionary business operated by her family in downtown’s Little Tokyo area since 1910.
Under her direction, the business expanded from a single shop into a $13 million-a-year business.
The company popularized mochi ice cream, an ice cream ball wrapped in a layer of rice cake. Some sources credit Hashimoto or her husband with inventing the treat and bringing it to market in the 1990s while others list a South Korean company as creating it a decade earlier.
Mikawaya’s version is now sold in supermarkets throughout the U.S.
She also was a longtime civic leader and a member of several organizations that promoted business and Japanese cultural events in Little Tokyo.
In September, the City Council voted to name a plaza in her honor. Frances Hashimoto Plaza will be dedicated next week.
In addition to her husband, Hashimoto is survived by two sons and a sister.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains