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The Birth of Tsukemen

While “tsukemen” is now very well known and served year round in Japan, up until the year 2000 very few shops served it on a regular basis and a majority only offered it during the summer. Tsukemen started to become more widely known with the closing of Kazuo Yamagishi’s restaurant Taishoken in Higashi Ikebukuro on March 20, 2007. Yamagishi was the originator of tsukemen, and the closing of his restaurant was covered by all mass media outlets. Helicopters hovered in the air above the restaurant, and the 400 servings he had prepared sold out by 9:20 in the morning. Many people who had previously been unaware of tsukemen found out about it through the coverage and began eating it.

Yamagishi was born in Nagano Prefecture in 1934, but he quickly moved to Tokyo after finishing junior high school in 1950 so he could work and send money back to his family. He opened the Higashi Ikebukuro Taishoken location on June 6, 1961 and quickly became known for serving Tokusei-Mori Soba, the very first incarnation of tsukemen. He had as many as 100 apprentices, as far North as Hokkaido and as far South as Okinawa. He died of heart failure on April 4, 2015.

Yamagishi invented tsukemen in 1955 and made a significant contribution to its growth. Currently it is known not only in Japan but also all around the world as "dipping ramen."

Source: Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum
Translation: Daniel Morales
Tsukemen NYC 70 Kenmare St New York, NY 10012 USA
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