Battlepanda: Mr. Noodles and Japanese National Identity


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mr. Noodles and Japanese National Identity

R.I.P. Momofuku Ando, inventor of Ramen. As Jeremiah of the Granite Studio commented at the Peking Duck, "These are the people who truly change history. Who says the 'great man' theory is dead." Amen, brother.

I was curious to read that Ando, despite his Japanese name, was in fact of Taiwanese descent. Or so I assume. Some articles say that he was born in Chiayi in Taiwan, and that his original name was Wu Baifu (吳百福). But most simply identify him as Japanese. I've always assumed that Japan was a very insular society that is not easy to assimulate into and that Chinese and Korean immigrants never become fully accepted even after generations. Even expat Japanese, like Alberto Fujimori, find their names rendered into the katakana character set usually reserved for foreign names and words as if they are no longer considered Japanese enough.

Damn. Now I feel like some ramen.