Japanese food industry powerhouses target US with new SUSHI-TEN USA joint venture

A variety of sushi
The new SUSHI-TEN USA joint venture will seek to capitalize on the growing popularity of sushi in the U.S. | Photo courtesy of romeovip_md/Shutterstock
4 Min

Japanese firms Royal Holdings Co., Choushimaru Co., and the Sojitz Corporation are establishing a joint venture in the U.S. called SUSHI-TEN USA.

The venture, to be based in Irvine, California, U.S.A., has USD 6 million (EUR 5.6 million) in capital to “create a new line of business centered on Japanese sushi tailored to the needs of the U.S. market,” the three companies said in a press release.

“The U.S. is an attractive market for restaurant business operators based on its market scale, diverse food culture, and high demand for Japanese foods,” they said.

SUSHI-TEN USA plans to “monitor people's tastes and preferences in the area in order to create a new business model,” the three firms said.

While high-end sushi restaurants previously set trends for the U.S. sushi market, sushi consumption has become localized and more casual in recent years and has seen annual increases in consumption totals and demand, they said.

The U.S. West Coast has a long history of Japanese immigration and a richly diverse Japanese restaurant culture, which has ignited the Japanese food trend in the U.S., including the sushi boom, they added.

“A steady upward trend can be seen in terms of Japanese restaurants in the U.S., particularly in major cities in California, which boasts the highest number of Japanese restaurants in the U.S.,” the companies said.

Fukuoka, Japan-based Royal Holdings Co. holds the majority investment in SUSHI-TEN USA at 34 percent. In addition to operating the Royal Host and TENYA restaurant chains, the company provides contract businesses for in-house catering facilities and restaurants of airport terminal buildings and highway service areas, manages hotels, and provides foodservice businesses with products, including manufacturing, sales, and logistics.

Chiba, Japan-based Choushimaru operates 88 sushi conveyer-belt restaurants in Japan, including gourmet chains Sushi Choushimaru, Edomae-Sushi Hyakumangoku, Sushi Choushimaru Miyabi, and Sushi Yasuke.

Trading company Sojitz, based in Chiyoda City, Tokyo, Japan, was formed out the union of Nichimen Corporation and Nissho Iwai Corporation. The three companies established the joint venture in the U.S. “with the aim of creating new value collectively that they could not achieve individually,” they said.

Choushimaru and Sojitz will each own 33 percent of the venture.

Royal Holdings and Sojitz signed a capital and business partnership in February 2021 and have since been pushing for overseas expansion, according to Nippon.com. In March 2024, they announced the opening of a Royal Host restaurant in Singapore – their first directly managed outlet outside of Japan.

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