Compared with many Japanese-owned businesses, Miyakawa was relatively undented by the wartime hiatus. The Hashimoto family, however, had one unforgettable reminder of their expereince: daughter Frances, born at the internment camp in Poston, Arizona.
Today, Frances is Mikawaya's President and CEO, as well as guardian of the secret family mochi recipe. Under her leadership, Mikawaya has developed a strikingly diverse line-up. In addition to hand-formed Japanese-style wagashi sweets that Ryuzaburo would recognize, Mikawaya produces cakes, pastries, and gelato in a modern Los Angeles factory.
Introduced in 1994, mochi ice cream is now Mikawaya's best known product. A ball of ice cream encased in soft rice dough, mochi ice cream is an elegantly simple hybrid of Japanese and Europe traditions. Seven flavors are now on the market; Mikawaya asked fans to vote via Facebook for flavor number eight and the winner was pumpkin. When the new treat appears later this year it will epitomize the melding of Japanese, European, and indigenous American tastes.