The Fastest Mochi Master in Japan Explains the Incredible Process of Pounding Rice Into Mochi

Great Big Story had the amazing opportunity to visit with Mochi Master Mitsuo Nakatani at Nakatanido, his mochi pounding shop, in Nara, Japan. Nakatani very graciously explained the highly physical and rhythmic process of pounding sticky rice into the beloved chewy treat that is so popular in Japan and other parts of the world.

The style of mochi making in my town I use is a high speed mochi-tsuki. There are many styles of mochi pounding, but the most traditional one is one person pounds and another mixes by hand. There’s no formal training of mochi pounding, it’s something you acquire by experience over time. …we use our shouting a way to coordinate with each other and create a rhythm. To me, making mochi is like a battle. …I live my life for mochi making.

nrolisham posted a really well-shot video showing Nakatani and his crew pounding mochi.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.