Fusao – Deaf Japanese`s Favorite Izakaya

Front entrance of Fusao

Fusao is a Japanese izakaya.  An izakaya is a kind of drinking establishment found all over Japan.  Izakaya read in kanji is as 居酒屋.  The kanji compound characters starting with “居” means to stay with comfort and “酒屋” means sake shop. The history of izakaya started when sake shops opened their shops for drinking to customers.  Today izakaya serves foods to accompany the drinks.  Many Japanese go to a izakaya after work during weekdays or on weekends to meet up with friends.  Izakaya are also popular with tourist who want to experience Japanese drinking culture.

interior and tatami of Fusao

Izakaya, Fusao has been in business since October 28, 1999.  The izakaya is  founded by a Deaf Japanese man, Fusao Yoshioka. The name of the izakaya takes after his first name.  Fusao also has several family members who helped in the businesses.  His wife Katsue is the hostess and manager.  All employees at Fusao use Japanese Sign Language.  Some are part-time employees who are sign language students from Universities in Tokyo.

Fusao located in Tokyo’s most bustling ward, Shinjuku is 180 meters from the JR Okubo Station.  One can easily walk to Fusao from the station.  Fusao shares area with other  izyakaya and small shops.  Fusao is popular with the Deaf Japanese community on the weekends.  Though many non-signers stop by during the weekdays after work.

Matthew Moore, Jed and Angela Barish signature is on Fusao’s wall.

The decor of Fusao is traditional Japanese.  Fusao and members of his family helped build the interior of the izakaya.  There also is a menu made on wood pieces hanging on the wall.  A collection of signatures is on the wall.  Most of the signatures are of famous Japanese TV personalities, Deaf celebrities and including three USA names, with one of Matthew Moore and a second one with Jed and Angela Barish’s signatures.

Fusao food speciality is kushiage, fried vegetables and/or meat on skewer, Japanese sake and shochu.   The menu also includes other traditional Japanese izakaya dishes such as boiled and salted edamame, tofu and other simmered Japanese root vegetables.

vegetable kushiage and shochu

And what is more, Yoshioka believes that Fusao is the only izakaya in the Okubo area of Shinjuku ward that has bottles of rice shochu.  Fusao has its own labeled rice shochu.  Rice shochu is a rare find and it is not to be confused with sake that known as rice wine. The difference between sake and shochu is that sake is brewed and fermented drink and shochu is distilled in the same way as whiskey.  Shochu has more alcohol than sake.

Yoshioka Fusao’s autobiography and labeled shochu.

D-Travel recommends travelers to stop by and visit Fusao and try kushiage, rice shochu and Japanese Sign Language.   Fusao is open on Monday ~ Sunday from 5pm till 11pm.  For more information or help to find Fusao, call D-Travel for information or guidance.

Peggy Prosser samples sake (rice wine) and rice shochu (rice whiskey)

One thought on “Fusao – Deaf Japanese`s Favorite Izakaya

  1. Hello, I am deaf and live from Chicago, IL. I already booked a flight to Tokyo on September 2016. Any deaf Japanese person can tour with me to somewhere? I love to see some culture and history, also fun events.

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