There is history and tradition in the store itself. Rafu Bussan is a combination of the words “Rashogiri” an old name for Los Angeles, from which came “ra” and “fu” meaning prefecture. The word “bussan” means product. The store found its beginnings before World War II when Yuko Tanaka and Junichi Onishi founded Rafu Bussan in Gardena, California.
Mr. Tanaka was sent to an internment camp during World War II and afterwards re-started Rafu Bussan and began delivering rice, tea, rice bowls, chopsticks and other items to Japanese families living in Orange County and the South Bay. In 1958, the late Kiyoshi “Skip” Kawaratani and his wife purchased Mr. Onishi’s share of the business and later, Mr. Tanaka’s interest. Rafu Bussan continues today and perpetuates Japanese housewares and gift items.