Representative Profile


  • Born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1957, Tak Kambara took a leave of absence from his studies at Hosei University to study in Kauai, Hawaii, an island he had longed to visit. He arrived at the airport dressed in a suit and leather shoes, but was surrounded by people wearing T-shirts and shorts, which unintentionally showed his host family how disciplined Japanese people are.
  • A year later, he returned to university and graduated without incident. He graduated from college and started working for a Danish shipping company, Maersk Line, where he learned and experienced various trading practices under the training of a captain who was a descendant of Scandinavian Vikings and a heavy drinker.
  • One morning during a heavy snowfall, he fell over on his way to work on a motorized bicycle in hilly Yokohama, and seriously considered escaping from Japan.
  • In 1985, he moved to the U.S. for the warmth of California and started selling "Wasabi and Wasabi related products" based in L.A. His first month sales were only $450. 
  • Since Japanese food was not yet common, he started steady sales activities mainly in major cities such as LA and New York.
  • Amidst the headwind of the rapid appreciation of the yen after the Plaza Accord, the "sushi boom" that began around that time also provided a tailwind, and sales gradually began to increase.
  • Later, the company aimed to expand its sales channels not only in the U.S. but also in Canada, Hawaii, and Central and South America.
  • In the meantime, to ensure a stable supply of the product and to avoid foreign exchange risks, the company started manufacturing powdered wasabi at a local partner factory.
  • Overcoming various hardships, he continued to sell wasabi for more than 30 years, eventually selling more than 60 40-ft containers of wasabi a year, ranging from a few cents to a few dollars, for a total of more than 100 million dollars.
  • At the time, he objected to the translation of "Wasabi" as "green mustard," and encouraged all parties to establish "WASABI" as the official name.
  • In 2005, he founded the Japan Food Culture Association (JFCA), a non-profit organization in the U.S., and has worked with other Japanese food manufacturers to promote the correct understanding of Japanese food culture.
  • In 2014, he founded EAT USA, a consulting company for Japanese food exports to the United States.
  • In 2015, he became the president of the Southern California Shizuoka Kenjinkai in LA, which has a history of over 120 years. Inheriting the spirit of his predecessors who crossed the ocean by boat, he plans events to increase the number of younger members, and also carries on old traditions.
  • In 2016, he was appointed by Shizuoka Prefecture to serve as the U.S. support desk for the Shizuoka Tea Export Expansion Council. At the same time, he was appointed as the U.S. representative for the Tea Industry Department of JA Shizuoka Keizairen.
  • In addition, he has been asked to provide consulting services for exporting to the U.S. by various organizations and companies as well as local governments such as Kochi Prefecture and Hyogo Prefecture.


Contributed by AGRIO

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History of Japanese Food Development in the U.S.


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