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Meet Joshua Morey of The J. Morey Company in Little Tokyo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joshua Morey.

Joshua, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My great grandfather immigrated to Los Angeles from Wakayama, Japan in 1897. He was one of the first business owners in Little Tokyo and started a dry goods company, The Asia Company, in 1907. Within 10 years he employed over 50 people and became a pillar in the Japanese American community. Some books say that he was the first person to import dry goods to America from Japan. During WWII Bungoro Morey (my great grandfather) was forced into an internment camp and had to abandon the business he had worked to build.

The store and land he owned before the war is now part of the LAPD. After returning from the war, he came back to nothing and had to start over again. It was virtually impossible to restart the Asia Company so he decided to focus on rice distribution to local businesses and households. My grandfather, George Morey, took over the rice distribution business but by the 1970’s became irrelevant and ventured into insurance. In 1980 my dad, John, and uncles, Jack and Jim started their own insurance agency in Little Tokyo. They purchased Norman Mineta (ex-secretary of transportation) insurance agency in San Jose and my dad moved our family up to San Jose while my uncles grew our presence in Los Angeles. We currently have 6 locations throughout California.

I joined the insurance agency in 2009 and recently was promoted to President and CEO of the Company. My journey to this point has been unconventional but the Japanese value of “GIRI” or “Duty” has been the reason why I’ve committed to carrying on my family’s legacy. There’s only 3 remaining Japan towns left in America and my great grandfather was a pillar in Little Tokyo at the turn of the century. My duty to carry on my family’s insurance agency is closely tied to the duty I feel to the Japanese American community as a whole to preserve our cultural footprint by having a physical presence in Little Tokyo and San Jose Japantown. I take pride in the fact that I walk the same street today that my great grandfather walked 117 years ago.

I mention that my journey to this point has been unconventional because I never aspired to be involved in the family business. My dream was to play professional baseball and then work for an MLB team after I was finished playing. After my collegiate baseball career, I went to Japan and played 2 years of semi-professional baseball. In Japan I connected back to my Japanese roots and decided to return to America to get my master’s in cross cultural studies. During my master’s program is when I decided to give my family business a try. I haven’t looked back and since I was promoted to CEO our company we’ve doubled our revenues in 2 years.

I’m committed to carrying on the legacy of my family’s business but even bigger than that is to perpetuate the Japanese American communities in our last few Japan towns.

Lastly, “GIRI” or “duty” is what roots me in my commitment to the family business but my dreams of working in the MLB have come full circle. 2 years ago, I partnered with an existing client and started a sports agency (The Oliver’s Sports Council) that bring professional baseball players in Japan to play in the MLB and LMB (Mexico). It’s important to have big dreams those dreams often come to fruition when we’re rooted in the values that guide us.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The J. Morey Company story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a full-service Property and Casualty Insurance Agency that leverages our relationships with our insurance companies to provide the most comprehensive plans we can for our clients. We leverage technology to help our insureds save money and specialize in multinational risks.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
There’s no luck. Dream big but work hard and hold to the values that keep you committed to your goals. The Japanese value of “GIRI” or “duty” is what keeps me rooted.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 361 East First ST.
  • Website: www.jmoreyins.com
  • Phone: 2137035903
  • Email: joshuamorey@jmoreyins.com

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Kathy Gaulton

    December 19, 2017 at 17:13

    Thank you for this story , told so well and grateful to be friends and client of the J Morey Co. The JMorey family has and continues to be part of the Heavenly Treasures organization and changing lives through our mission.
    Grateful!
    Kathy Gaulton
    Founder and CEO
    Heavenly Treasures

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