How Issei Mochi Gummies Came to Life

Mochi Gummies began as a simple homemade snack that Mika Shino was making for her kids and friends. Weary of the various gummy snacks and candies her children were often asking for, Mika sought to create a snack that did not have excessive sugar, artificial flavors, chemical stabilizers, and animal products. The more she learned about how gelatin was the foundation of most chewy snacks, and the more she learned where gelatin came from (boiled animal skin), the more she was convinced that there had to be better options for treats.

So she created a simple, pure, and natural snack - small bite-sized versions of the mochi desserts she grew up within Japan - and infused a diversity of natural flavors. Her kids loved it. Their friends loved it. And Mochi Gummies were born. Mochi Gummies are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, and gelatin-free.

Our dream is to create better alternatives for food, providing people with great food and a happier, healthier life.

What is Mochi?

Mochi is an ancient Japanese snack, and has been in the food culture of Japan since 14,000-300 B.C.. It is possibly the cleanest confection ever created, traditionally made with pounded rice and spring water, and often 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 quick, 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 symbolizes longevity, well-being and prosperity.

What is Issei?

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, adapting and learning new ways while staying true to who we are.

For us, our first line of products, Issei Mochi Gummies, is a fusion of our Japanese culture with that of the U.S., powered by innovation. It is our love letter to immigrant communities everywhere, as well as to minority communities who have so much to share, and have contributed such great deal, but often felt unseen or unheard. We are so excited to innovate, create and share with you all that we imagine, building a community and telling our stories through food.