The Reason Why Taiyaki Pancake is Shaped Like a Fish

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

In addition to Dorayaki, actually there are another 2 common pancakes with Anko in Japan which have been widely enjoyed by us Japanese over a long period of time.

They are “Imagawayaki (今川焼き)” and “Taiyaki (たい焼き)”.

Why Taiyaki is Shaped Like Sea Bream

Taiyaki Pancake

As I wrote an article about the former before, today let me talk about Taiyaki pancake. Specifically, about the reason why Taiyaki is shaped like a fish, for many overseas people who know the Japanese sweet snack wonder “Why?”

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

Based on Collaborative Reference Database, at first he sold Imagawayaki pancakes, but those didn’t sell. So he began selling turtle-shaped Imagawayaki, but that also failed.

After that, he finally achieved great success in Taiyaki, the Imagawayaki pancake that was created by imitating the shape of Japanese red sea bream.

The reason why he thought he wanted to make the fish-shaped pancake was that it is generally believed in Japan that the Japanese red sea bream “Tai (鯛 or たい)” is a fish that brings good luck.

Besides, at that time it was quite difficult for the common people to have a real Tai fish because it was an expensive luxurious food.

By the way, the reason why Tai is considered a lucky fish in Japan is that its name sounds like the Japanese term meaning “Happy” “Medetai (めでたい)”.

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

Even now, you can enjoy the original Taiyaki at Naniwaya Sohonten. For those who are interested in the pancake, finally here is the shop information.

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. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

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