Emiko - third from the left (holding fan); Miyo- right of Emiko; Eiichi - far right

Following our roots will take us back to post war Tokyo where Eichii Taguchi has begun to produce seasonal wagashi in his family home in Adachi, Tokyo, under the name Kitaya. Due to a collision with a tree during a horse training exercise, Eiichi had been deemed unsuitable for war and stayed on the homefront. He did, however, have a fine pair of rickety fingers which caused the normally refined sweets to be slightly too large. Post war Tokyo didn't mind one bit. Sugar was sparse and Eichii desperate to continue providing sweets, turned to the black market; an adventure which resulted in a short stint in jail. As soon as he was free he was back in the kitchen, and customers were waiting. His passion resonated in the community and Kitaya grew. By the end of his life Kitaya had grown from one man in his kitchen to five popular shops.

Eichii was very proud of the fact that he was able to borrow money from the bank and had done so many time; he saw it as a sign of trust and esteem. Emiko, his elder daughter did not. Calling a meeting of Eichii's friends and associates, she demanded that they urge him to pass control of the business over to her. They did so but Eichii worried that the austere world they lived in would be a tricky place for her to make her first steps in business. He eventually gave in but opened another shop under a new name on the other side of the district as a safety net. He needn't have worried; Emiko, a force of nature, grew Kitaya into the most popular sweets shops in Adachi. Diabetes eventually took his sight and a leg; unable to excercise his passion, he deteriorated and soon passed.

Eichii's younger daughter, Harue, yearned independance; to be away from wagashi; to see Japan from the outside. She took the plunge, arriving in London on her 22nd birthday. Harue enjoyed her simple '9 to 5' but her husband, Peter, did not and so in 1986 Wagashi Japanese Bakery was created. It began as a small, family orientated company and has remained much the same, with the addition of some outstanding people. Peter studied hard to learn the art of ceremonial wagashi but as the company grew, they gave way to the demand of dorayaki.

You may be familiar with our original logo (pictured left). The kanji is in Harue's mother, Miyo's, hand and its use to represent the company was of great, heartfelt importance to Harue. The English section on the left was drawn up by Peter and the combination was used for 26 years. Since adopting new designs, other momentos of the family have been incorporated. You may notice the floral pattern of Harue's kimono around the website and in our leaflets, posters, and logo.

Kitaya is ever growing in Japan, at points providing Harue Grace - fine English cakes, and Rokunin-shu - an innovative kitchen of six competitive wagashi confectioners. Wagashi Japanese Bakery hopes to introduce a range of exciting new sweets that fuse familiar and foreign qualities and flavours. The two companies, once working independently, plan to join forces under the Kitaya family name.