In the late 1960s, prior to opening Fujiya, Shigeru Hirai owned Maneki Japanese Restaurant with his wife Akemi. Located at 342 E. Hastings St., the restaurant was one of the early pioneers of Japanese fine dining and brought over many chefs from Japan. It was one of the first restaurants in the city to have a sushi bar and tatami rooms! For many locals, it was a unique experience to try traditional Japanese items like sushi, sashimi, sukiyaki, tempura and sake.
After a successful run with Maneki, Shig wanted a change of pace for himself and his family and decided to embark on a new business venture. In 1977, he opened the first Fujiya store in old Japantown on Powell Street (by Oppenheimer Park) where Shig and Akemi sold raw fish, dry goods and deli items. In 1977, the Powell Street Festival also began and Shig became highly involved. He had a booth there for many years and was an organizer for the popular amateur sumo tournament. He also operated a booth at the PNE for a few years selling items like yakisoba and fishcake burgers.
In 1981, Ocean Delight Seafoods began its operations selling satsumaage (fishcakes) and imitation crab meat which has been used in the Fujiya California Rolls since the beginning.
After running the original store for several years, Fujiya opened two other locations: Richmond in 1989 and Victoria in 1991. In 1994, the main Vancouver location moved to its current spot on Clark Drive and Venables Street. Then in 1998, the Downtown takeout store opened.
Later, the opportunity arose to be the food provider for Robert Nimi Nikkei Home, an assisted living home adjacent to the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre. Hi Genki Japanese Restaurant started in 2002 to provide food for the residents and serve homestyle Japanese food to the public.
Throughout Shig and Akemi's long career, their focus has always been on supporting the Japanese Canadian community and delighting customers with authentic and delicious Japanese food. Now they are excited for the business to continue on with leadership from the next generation in the family.