Oden: Why is the Dish called So? and its literal Meaning

It is October. In Japan, together with Shinmai (新米), the Oden (おでん) season has finally come.

The dish is now on sale in many convenience stores, and you can see related product ads on newspaper flyers.

But have you ever thought about its etymology and literal meaning?

Etymology & Meaning of Oden (おでん)

Oden Meaning Etymology

As I was also wondering about the origin, I researched that today.

Based on Kotobank, Oden is short for O-Dengaku (おでんがく), and its name comes from Dengaku (田楽). 

What is Dengaku (田楽)?

Yaki Miso Tofu Dengaku

Dengaku is a dish that appeared in the Muromachi period (室町時代: 1336-1573) and came in two styles, Yaki (焼き) and Nikomi (煮込み).

Yaki Dengaku consisted of a grilled skewer coated with miso and used a rectangular block of tofu as its main ingredient.

Oden Konnyaku

Meanwhile, Nikomi Dengaku was its simmered version, and in the Edo period (江戸時代: 1603-1868), Oden came to refer to this type.

Oden started with konnyaku and later adopted various ingredients such as daikon (radish) and hanpen (fish cake).

(Reference Page: Wikipedia おでん )


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: