Why Taiyaki Pancake is Shaped Like a Fish

When it comes to Japanese pancake filled with sweet “Anko (あんこ)” red bean paste, “Dorayaki (どら焼き)” is famous in many countries because it is Doraemon’s yummy buns.

In addition to Dorayaki, there are another two Anko-stuffed cakes in Japan, which are “Imagawayaki (今川焼き)” and “Taiyaki (たい焼き)”.

As I wrote in this post about the former, let me talk about why Taiyaki is shaped like a fish today.

Why Taiyaki is Shaped Like Sea Bream

Taiyaki Pancake

It is “Kanbe Seijiro (神戸清次郎)”, the founder of the confectionery shop “Naniwaya Sohonten (浪花屋総本店)” (Google Map) (founded in 1909) that created the fish-shaped pancake.

Based on this article, he sold Imagawayaki cakes at first, but those didn’t sell. So next, he began selling turtle-shaped Imagawayaki, but that also failed.

After that, he finally achieved great success in Taiyaki, the Imagawayaki pancake modeled after the shape of Japanese red sea bream or “Tai (鯛 or たい)”.

Why he made the treat like a Tai is that it is generally believed in Japan that the fish brings good luck because its name sounds like the term meaning auspicious or happy “Medetai (めでたい)“.

Besides, at the time, it was difficult for the general public to have a Tai because it was expensive.

Shop Information: Naniwaya Sohonten (浪花屋総本店)

Even now, you can have the original Taiyaki at Naniwaya Sohonten, whose shop information is listed below.

  • Address: 1-8-14 Azabujuban, Minato-ku, Tokyo (MAP)
  • Open: Monday, Wednesday to Sunday (10:00 to 19:00)
  • Closed: Tuesdays, Third Wednesday


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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