Issei is a mission-driven, innovation-forward, woman-owned and minority-owned company. Our goal is to create innovative, beautiful, healthy, delicious foods that can make people happy, honor our heritage and garner a community through our core values. We want to infuse more diversity and inclusion to the food sector and build bridges across cultures through food.


Weary of the various gummy snacks and candies her children often asked for, Mika sought to create a healthier alternative. The more she was learned about gelatin (the foundation of most chewy snacks) and its origins (Boiled animal skin), the more she was convinced that there has to be a better options - something that did not have excessive sugar, artificial flavors, chemical stabilizers, and animal products.

This led Mika to explore the idea of using mochi. Made from pure rice grains and mountain spring water, mochi is likely one of the cleanest snacks ever crated. Inspired by this treasured, ancient Japanese treat, Issei Mochi Gummies was born.

Picture this: soft, chewy, pillowy texture, somewhere between a gummy bear and a marshmallow. Small, bite-sized versions of mochi desserts you’ll find in Japan - infused with diversity of natural flavors.

Mochi Gummies contains zero gluten, nuts, dairy, and soy, is non-GMO, and is 100% vegan. It is a shelf stable, chewy, natural candy rivaling the best selling gummy candies that are made with animal-derived gelatin and artificial flavors.

Our dream is to create better alternatives for food, providing people with great food and a happier, healthier life. Enjoy Mochi. Gummies straight from the package, or pair them with ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, puddings, or your favorite dessert.


As she moved with her family to the U.S. as a child, then as an adult to different countries for her work with different positions she held, such as with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, her curiosity for food cultures across the world brought her to delve into her own heritage when it came time to nurture her own family. She wanted to instill the same spark for life through food in her children and cultivate pride of their Asian roots and its culinary traditions.

This hope spurred her vision of creating healthier foods for her family, starting with Issei Mochi Gummies. Mika attended Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris, published a cookbook “Smart Bites for Baby” (Perseus Press, 2011), and completed her Bachelors Degree from New York University, and her Master’s Degree and qualifying exams for her Ph.D at both the London School of Economics (London_ and Le Sorbonne University (Paris) in Philosophy.

A painter, a music producer, and an avid cook, she firmly believes in the cross-section of the arts - how they are all linked and foster a depth of appreciation of all that is beautiful in life. She lives in Washington D.C with her husband and two boys.


Issei means ‘first star’ or ‘one life’ in Japanese, but it also means something very specific - ‘first generation Japanese immigrants in the U.S.’., and the word symbolizes the earnest hope for immigrants who want to bring the best of their heritage to their newfound home in America.

Issei is about how we always hold on to the memories of where we come from. Nostalgia and stories of our past often kept and told through food. It is about the vision of creating a better future for ourselves and our families, adopting and learning new ways while staying true to who we are.

For us , our first line of product, Mochi Gummies are a fusion of our Japanese culture with that of the U.S. - powered by innovation. It is our love letter to immigrant and minority communities everywhere who have so much to share, and have contributed such great deal, but often feel unseen or unheard.

We are so excited to innovate, create and share all of our big ideas with you, while building a special community and telling our stories through food.


An ancient Japanese snack, mochi has been in the food culture of Japan since 14,000-300 B.C.. Possibly the cleanest confection ever created, it is traditionally made with pounded rice and spring water, and ofter filled with red Azuki bean paste. It is a food for celebrations, gatherings and expressions of gratitude. It was and still is a celebratory event of communities gathering folks to watch quickly, rhythmic pounding of rice into warm, soft, pillows of chewy dough.

Mochi is a sacred food for the gods, with people bringing neatly piled mounds of decorated mochis to shrines as offerings to the Shinto Gods for the New Year. It symbolized longevity, well-being and prosperity.

Thank you for being part of our mission to make life sweeter, inclusive, and kinder to our planet.