Collection, Hawaiian

Honda Tofu Store Sign

Honda Tofu Store Sign

Founded in 1917 by Japanese immigrants Eizo and Tsuyo Honda, Honda Tofu is one of the nation’s oldest tofu businesses. In 1914, Eizo Honda moved to Wahiawa on the island of Oahu, Hawai‘i, with his wife Tsuyo and their three children and took over a general merchandise store. The property was leased from the California Packing Corporation, now known as Del Monte.

Photograph of the store front.

In 1917, the Hondas started a small tofu factory in the back of their store. By the late 1920s, Eizo decided to close the general store to concentrate on the more profitable tofu business in order to support his expanding family. The Honda family donated the wooden store sign, a tofu knife, labels, and photos to the Smithsonian APA Program.

The tofu-making business was handed to son Haruo and his wife, Josephine, and then to their son Dennis and his wife Dulcie. These days, Dennis makes about 800 to 1,000 tofu blocks in a day. He gets up at 2:30 a.m. to make the delivery rounds, then returns to the store to make fresh batches until 7:00 p.m., six days a week. They supply tofu not only to neighbors but to restaurants, local supermarkets, and even Costco and Sam’s Club. Thanks to the Hondas, who keep the traditional methods alive and continue to bring smiles to their customers.

Gift of Dennis and Dulcie Honda

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