The reason why Taiyaki pancake is shaped like a fish

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

In addition to Dorayaki, actually there are another 2 common pancakes with Anko that have been widely enjoyed by Japanese people for a long time. They are Imagawayaki (今川焼き) and Taiyaki (たい焼き).

The reason why Taiyaki is shaped like sea bream

As I wrote about the former before, today I want to talk about Taiyaki pancakes. Especially 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)” founded in 1909, that created the fish-shaped sweet pancake. According to Collaborative Reference Database, at first, he sold Imagawayaki pancakes, but those didn’t sell. Next, he began selling turtle-shaped Imagawayaki, but it also failed.

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

According to Kanbe Seijiro, the reason why he thought he would make the fish-shaped pancake was that the Japanese red sea bream, Tai is generally believed to be a fish that brings good luck and besides it was quite difficult for the common people to have a real Tai because of its high price.

By the way, the reason why Tai is considered a lucky fish in Japan is that the 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, 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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