Momo

A Happy ‘Hapa’ Shop at 6th & Jackson
A Happy ‘Hapa’ Shop at 6th & Jackson

Opened in 2007 at the main crossroads of Seattle’s Japantown, Momo is owned and operated by me and my husband, Tom Kleifgen. I’m of Japanese ancestry, raised in Hawaii; Tom hails from Minnesota, with strong northern European roots. Momo is a reflection of our union, a ‘hapa’ (Hawaiian for half/half), or as we sometimes say, ‘Scandinasian’ shop. Taking a cue from general stores where I grew up, we purvey a lifestyle mix including clothing, home and personal goods, both vintage and new, from near and far. Tom and I are also united in Spam: Did you know that Hawaii consumes four million cans a year? A heck of a lot more than in Minnesota where it’s made! Our Spam Wall now boasts over 30 unopened cans of Spam from around the globe, often a gift to us from thoughtful customers. 
Tom and I hand pick the shop’s wide-ranging offerings, as well as the quirky details that make Momo a spot where people love to return. A part of our charm is our location in the historic Jackson Building, built and still owned by the Murakami family. We occupy the original Jackson Loan Office pawnshop, established by Julius Blumenthal and his half-brother Maurice Zimmer. During World War II, when the Murakamis were incarcerated in Minidoka concentration camp, the two protected the building, enabling the family to retain property so they could resume their livelihood. Momo is grateful and honored to be a part of the rich history and contributions of this community, established so long ago. 

Place(s): Seattle, Hawaii, Minnesota

– Lei Ann Shiramizu

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more