lifestyle

Invention most Japanese are proud of is instant ramen

74 Comments
By Jessica, RocketNews24

Japan’s best minds have contributed quite a few important inventions to the world over the years. Did you know that the portable ECG machine was invented in Japan, for example? So were electric rice cookers, DSLR cameras, CD players, Blu-ray discs, and gaming systems. Really, the list of Japanese tech that has become integral to our daily lives goes on and on.

However, if you ask Japanese people which invention their country should be proud of, it turns out a far humbler product jumps to mind for most: instant noodles.

Five hundred Japanese, split evenly between men and women, were asked in a survey which home-grown inventions they thought Japan should be proud of. They weren’t given a list but rather asked to come up with ideas on their own. The result? An astonishing 57% of Japanese responded that Japan should be proud of instant noodles!

Perhaps instant ramen isn’t saving any lives, but you have to admit in terms of cultural cachet, it’s been a huge success. The appeal of having a hot, tasty meal just by adding a little water seems to be nearly universal, with over 100 BILLION packets being consumed around the world each year. Not a trace of the Galapagos syndrome there. Inventor Momofuku Ando tapped into a worldwide demand with that one.

The next closest competitor for Japanese pride is the blue LED light, for which inventor Shuji Nakamura won a Nobel Prize in 2013. Despite recent blanket coverage of the award, however, only 41.4% of respondents mentioned it.

Rounding out the top 10 are washlet toilets (36.8%), automatic ticket gates (27.2%), karaoke (25%), curry in a pouch (21.2%), dry-cell batteries and electric rice cookers (21% each), endoscope cameras (20%), and mechanical pencils and erasable ink pens (19.6% each).

No love for AIBO, I guess.

Source: Excite News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- World’s First Smartphone Integrated Rice Cooker Revealed by Panasonic -- This new convenience store isn’t so convenient for the blind… -- Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out!

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


74 Comments
Login to comment

Perhaps instant ramen isn’t saving any lives

You're kidding, right? It's saved mine on many an occasion, or at least that's how it felt. On the other hand, I've never felt my life has been saved by a blue LED or an internal combustion engine or a printing press.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Ironically, the "Japanese" inventor of instant ramen was actually Taiwanese.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

Tessa, Ando-san was a Chinese born in Taiwan. But he made his fortune in Japan by successfully developing instant ramen in the late 1950's (Cup Noodles came quite a bit later).

Interestingly, the very success of instant ramen made the Japanese appreciate real bowls of ramen more. It's not a coincidence that ramen styles started to dramatically expand from the 1960's on, and the 1980's the four main soup stock styles used in ramen went national: shoyu, shio, tonkotsu and miso.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Washlet has saved my life more times than instant ramen.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Instant ramen is nothing to be proud of - more than 15g (I've seen 29g before) of palm fat in one serving. That's too much of a rather unhealthy type of fat. Go for the real ramen instead.

I'd go for shinkansen and it's safety and comfort as something to be proud of. And electronic bidets (and no, washlet is not an English word - it's bidet - for both men and women).

Were automatic ticket gates really invented in Japan?

Tessa:

Ironically, the "Japanese" inventor of instant ramen was actually Taiwanese.

Not only that, I heard that the blue LED light was actually invented by an American (who happens to have the same name as Nakamura).

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Pukey2 - Nakamura san had changed his nationality to American before the Nobel prize.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Tessa, Ando-san was a Chinese born in Taiwan. But he made his fortune in Japan by successfully developing instant ramen in the late 1950's (Cup Noodles came quite a bit later).

Still doesn't make him Japanese. Oh wait, the only time foreigners are considered Japanese is when they gain fame for something. Right. Carry on...

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Raymond: Taiwanese, not Chinese

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ancient China actually invented deep fried noodles way before Ando's time. Chicken Ramen was just marketed the right way to gain the now popular fame.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

CD and CD Players - was invented by an American.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_disc

Japanese inventors from Sony just improved on the American invention. I won't even bother to mention who invented the transistor radio, it wasn't Sony.

It was KODAK which first came up with DSLR camera, and it was Sony again who improved on the invention. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_single-lens_reflex_camera

Blu Ray Disks were collaboration between Sony and Philips. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray#History_2

It was the Dutch doctor, Willem Einthoven who invented the first ECG machine in 1903 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willem_Einthoven

And everyone has identified correctly that it was a Taiwanese living in Japan who invented the ramen noodles, probably getting his ideals from Chinese noodles.

So that leaves rice cooker, as the only item listed in this article, by this Japanese press, to be really invented purely by a Japanese, which was Toshiba.

Japanese suffer the same problem like other East Asians. They are not good at inventing things. But they are good at taking the invented products, improving and re-engineering them into finished products. Chalk that up to the rote learning education system that is not much different from other East Asian countries, despite Japanese proudly proclaim themselves that they are unique Asians.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Ando was born in Taiwan, but he graduated from Ritsumeikan, went to jail for tax fraud for two years, and changed his nationality to Japanese. Then he created the fat-laden instant raamen we all have grown to love.

But if we want to be pendantic, raamen isn't Japanese either as it was imported (along with kanji, Buddhism, and rice production) from China.

But mechanical pencils were invented in Japan? I never knew that.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Kudos, Papi2003. I knew there were some major discrepancies in this article.

On the other hand, my fav Japanese invention would prob be the (80's classic) Sony walkman. Everyone, everywhere had one of those.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But mechanical pencils were invented in Japan? I never knew that

When I google who invented mechanical pencils, I get the result

Slavoljub Eduard Penkala

I can't think of anything that Japan really invented from somebody's brain, out to the drawing board, and on to a finished product. Maybe that's why the Japanese people who were polled, picked ramen. They simply couldn't think of anything that was pure Japanese invention.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The Japanese didn't invent gaming systems either, that was pretty much all thanks to the US.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Perhaps instant ramen isn’t saving any lives

Actually ramen is considered the best food to put in an earthquake emergency package, so maybe it is.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

On the other hand, my fav Japanese invention would prob be the (80's classic) Sony walkman.

Yes, Sony was the one who first miniaturized the cassette tape player to become portable, but at the same time, they did not invent the tape cassette format itself. But I'll give you that one, although it's still slightly tainted.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Tentacle Erotica is a uniquely Japanese invention. Hokusai was one of the first to depict interactions between human females and a tentacled beast in the early 1800`s.

Today, we give thanks to consensual tentacle erotica.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Can't just say 'Thanks', and leave it at that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Still doesn't make him Japanese. Oh wait, the only time foreigners are considered Japanese is when they gain fame for something. Right. Carry on...

And foreigners who gain Japanese citizenship rightfully complaining that they're not considered a Japanese. But wait, your'e not Japanese, yet you DON'T consider Mr. Ando a Japanese despite him obtaining Japanese citizenship. Hmmmm, maybe it goes both ways huh? Right, Carry on...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This ends discussion on Mr Ando's citizenship.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bit sad the 1st choice was instant ramen. Other than a good emergency food in disasters or the like, it ranks with the top in the junk food world.

And sad that locals didn't praise things like the blue led which has transformed much of our digital world or the shinkansen the worlds 1st hi-speed train or even the seiko quartz watch which revolutionized the industry.

Instant ramen - yech!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sometimes the most beloved and well revered inventions are simple in nature..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese were the first to invent (synthesize) Methamphetamine.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Now, instant ramen? Humm, well they don't have then a big standard in what should be an invention since instant ramen are not tasty and are quite unhealthy food.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan invented textured pavements (the yellow, studded paths you see everywhere) for visually impaired people.

I'd have thought that's worth being proud of....

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@ Pukey2 - and don't forget they have one day's worth of sodium in one cup.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Momofuku Ando born and rasied in taiwan in 1910, came to Japan in 1933, after WW2 be became a Japaense citizen. was convicted of tax evasion in 1948 and served two years in jail. so yes he was born Taiwanese and adopted the Japenese business ethic early on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Japan never invented anything"

Clearly said by someone who doesn't know what an invention is.

Holding Americans by the same standard then we would be able to say they invented nothing since everything can be traced back to the caveman, one way or another.

Britain's first wagon-train can be traced back to a horse cart, applying the same standards used to deny Japanese ownership of any invention.

And the same applies to American "inventions". Isn't the computer an in improvement of a typewriter?

How did Americans go to the moon? Didn’t they use the same tech developed by the German V-1 and V-2.

Didn't the V-2 use the same concept proposed by Da Vinci? Wasn't him the first one known person to draw plans for a moon landing?

Let's leave this usual Japan hate-bashing and give credit where's due.

Japanese invented general anaesthesia Blue ray Quartz wristwatch The first bullet train Flash memory Cassette tape Gaming consoles

And the list is endless.

Search for it if you wish and stop this “Japanese did not invent anything”, everybody else did.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Hmmm...There are actually surprisingly few groundbreaking Japanese inventions before the electronic age that stand out. I know that Japan contributed to quite a few important, but obscure, chemistry discoveries in the late 19th and early 20th century. I believe Japan also invented MSG (the food additive).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And the same applies to American "inventions". Isn't the computer an in improvement of a typewriter?

No definitely not because the purpose of the computer was to help solve complicated problems and not just typing like with a typewriter. The two are not even closely related.

The Japanese invented the floppy disc and the cd disc the walkman which was the first big step for smaller devices. LCD screens and many types of robots. Cameras, mirrorless which are really good. There's a long list.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ah, I remembered another good one: Candlestick charts, which show the highest highs and lowest lows of market prices. Maybe some people won't know what it is, but it was invented hundreds of years ago to record volatility in rice prices and it's now used by stock traders all around the world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candlestick_chart

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan invented many financial tools: future market, charge account, monetary easing, etc at the Edo period.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Wasabi, couldn't even live without that one!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

zichi - Wasabi is a vegetable.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Food for poor university students. Usually women that lool better less they eat. Not so good for athletic young males.We have the eqivalent in Australia. Maggi Instant Noodles.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hmmm...There are actually surprisingly few groundbreaking Japanese inventions before the electronic age that stand out.

That would be correct, but it's like saying there were few groundbreaking British inventions before the industrial age. It doesn't take away from what they have accomplished since.

Japan has plenty of creativity, and many inventions Americans take credit for (and which are even taught in school textbooks) were invented in the UK or elsewhere. Even Edison was notorious for stealing inventions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Tinawatanabe

The plant is 和佐比; Eutrema japonicum. The Japanese were the first to discover it could be ground into the paste wasabi. I think it was a farmer originally.

The electric rice cooker with a timer. Just so useful which we also use for bread making and cakes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some of you people who are debating over who invented what simply to assign bragging rights need to nip it in the bud. If a Japanese invented instant ramen, that's great. That is a testament to that particular human being's ingenuity; it says nothing about Japan's citizenry. And the same goes for America, Germany, or anywhere else. Who cares if an American invented the computer, or a great Scot the telephone; half of Americans can barely assemble take home furniture. What needs to be celebrated and commemorated is human ingenuity in and of itself and the fact that every race, creed, and country has produced excellent minds. It's a sign that we're all the same, and that tribalism, racism, nationalism, and all the isms and schisms are a bunch of bull.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Huh! Instant noodles a Japanese invention? Or, is it another way to show the world that education in history/fact is really lacking in Japan?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Mr. Noidall

Who cares if an American invented the computer, or a great Scot the telephone; half of Americans can barely assemble take home furniture. What needs to be celebrated and commemorated is human ingenuity

lol, yes I agree with your sentiments, however some countries and cultures are extremely innovative at different points in their history (like Japan in the 1980s) and it's interesting to take it a step back and think about why that is. The British are generally thought to be a nation of inventors, but is it down to having the first patent system? Education? or is it just the bad weather that keeps them indoors? It would be great to find out.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan invented textured pavements (the yellow, studded paths you see everywhere) for visually impaired people.

I'd have thought that's worth being proud of....

I think that who ever thought of training guide dogs would have a head start on that one! (Not Japanese, for your information.)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Search for it if you wish and stop this “Japanese did not invent anything”, everybody else did. yes japan has invented many products but it certainly doesnt show in Nobel Prizes, dominated by Europeans, Americans, UK. So it could be fair to say that while japan has invented many things, not of enough importance that has changed the world.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Any of you ever been on a flight when they offer instant noodles for a snack...? I needed a gas mask. The smell came all the way up to first class which is the only way I travel.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@JapanGal. LoL, who came up with whole "Coach/Economy/Business/First Class/ViP" concepts in the first place? . . . . I'm going out on a limb to say that- Probably not a Japanese invention. Cats like Howard Hughs go way beyond instant ramen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“So it could be fair to say that while japan has invented many things, not of enough importance that has changed the world."

And what's the relevance to this to inventing or not inventing things?

Japan's irrelevance to the world certainly did not stop you moving there to live. Did it?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ah, are you one of those extremely important gaijin who had until yesterday to beg for your foreign card renewal?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No renewal?

You are a gaijin therefore you had to renew yer alien card, regardless.

Engrish teachers certainly do. Don't know the status of military personnel though.

Anyway, third world Japan for such an important personality? Why not other much more developed places where you can easily collect your Nobel?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Are you another VIP that Japain cannot live without as well?

Moderator: You can 24 hours off from posting to learn some manners.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Search for it if you wish and stop this “Japanese did not invent anything”, everybody else did. yes japan has invented many products but it certainly doesnt show in Nobel Prizes, dominated by Europeans, Americans, UK. So it could be fair to say that while japan has invented many things, not of enough importance that has changed the world.

Based on that logic, the Chinese inventions of gun powder, the compass and so much more that revolutionized human civilization means nothing since they didn't win the Nobel prize for it. Even though the Chinese gets bad press over cheap knockoffs (which they deserve), I never agreed with some people claiming they have no ingenuity. I bet those same people will be blown away with ancient Chinese inventions. Chinese came late into the game in "modernization" but that doesn't mean they're not creative as history shows.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Greatest Japanese invention: the love hotel.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Have a overwhelming addiction to instant Ramen what my Doctor frankly described as buckets of death, have to succumb to regular healthcare monitoring, ongoing issues with blood pressure, have Lawson Station's and Sunshine's preset in to GPS with selected chimes for favorites stockists.... Sunny-mart is the Aladdin's cave.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If anyone is interested in what the Japanese electronics companies did and didn't do in creating their products, there is an pretty good book called "We Were Burning" written by a tech journalist that came out ten or so years ago. To cut a long story short, the most common pattern is that they took basic, science-driven research from IBM and Bell Labs in the States, both of whom were swimming in money from their respective monopolies and defence contracts during the Cold War arms race, and turned such research into manufacturable consumer products. Since no-one doing fundamental research had to face problems like how to reliably and affordably make silicon wafers to six nines purity, quite a lot of "invention" was still required to get the products out there.

Regarding the nationality of the creator of instant ramen, or anything else for that matter, a lot of the research into the most promising/hyped invention of late in Britain, graphene, was done by two Russians at Manchester University. Graphene is still being pushed as "British technology".

The real story of how things get invented is actually best told by the 1970s TV series Connections by James Burke. The majority of inventions are novel applications of and/or combinations of existing technology. All Edison did with the light bulb was find (or more probably employ someone who found) a workable material for the filament. The light bulb itself was already known. Burke's main message in the series is that the "single man acting on his own invented" idea is usually a fallacy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

it certainly doesnt show in Nobel Prizes, dominated by Europeans, Americans, UK.

And who are the judges? The westerners. What language publications are their decisions base on? English.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Silly me..and I thought the DSLR was a Kodak invention.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd have to agree that we are proud of instant ramen (especially Sanpo Yakibura Ramen only available in Kyushu) . and I'm very happy to agree that originally it's from China/Taiwan. Come on it's China, It's like Roman Empire to you English speaking people. Though I'm politically a conservative Japanese, and because I'm a conservative Japanese, I can't but admire China/Taiwan in terms of culture. Japanese food, calligraphy, construction, etc, most of what we have as Japanese culture. You guys should pay some respect to China in terms of culture too.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Washlet has saved my life more times than instant ramen."

Mine too!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think people have to remember at the time Ando-san developed instant ramen in 1958 (which took several years of trial and error), he invented it because people in Japan demanded a quicker way to make meals in the 1950's--instant ramen was a huge leap forward for its day. Healthy it wasn't, but you have to remember back in 1958, few people cared about the health risks of such food.

The very fact it was so easy to make was why when Nissin created Cup Noodles in 1971, it became an instant (pun not intended here!) sales hit around the world. It also kind of explains why many business hotels in Japan nowadays have hot water air pots, too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese invented the floppy disc and the cd disc

The CD was pioneered by Philips and realized by Philips and Sony in 1979. The floppy disk was invented by IBM engineers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Greatest Japanese invention: the love hotel.

Rest: ¥2700 . Stay: ¥7500.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Instant ramen is absolutely disgusting. As others have pointed out most of the Japanese inventions mentioned are not Japanese at all so, consequently, this poll doesn't show Japan and and the Japanese public at it's best.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Elizabeth

Are you completely unaware of the joys of a chilli tomato cup ramen after a few beers with the boys/girls?

I even take a couple back to England when I visit. Heaven! : )

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Instant ramen is absolutely disgusting.

Hmm. It's not that bad. The large bowls (250¥ on up) have great flavoring (soup) packets, nori, etc.. . . Plus you can add some chopped up "negi" onion & sliced-up "menma" to it at home. Cures most hangovers. Instant ramen is okay once in a while.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Wc

Nice to agree now and then ; )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LoL. Ditto

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@lucabrasi They are horrible, even when you are pissed. The smell of them is abhorrent.

Mr Heath's doctor told him not to eat them as the salt content can cause a stroke. He hasn't eaten one since.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"The floppy disk was invented by IBM engineers"

Really?

"http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6950933.stm"

"Nakamatsu's claims concerning the floppy disk technology must be considered as reasonable, because he licensed about a dozen of his patents related to this technology to IBM Corporation in 1970s. Nakamatsu also claims, that he invented floppy disk technology as early as in 1950, when he was a student at the University of Tokyo, but after six of Japan’s leading corporations turned down his request to have them produce the floppy disk, he granted the sales license for the disk to IBM."

"The CD was pioneered by Philips and realized by Philips and Sony in 1979"

Not entirely true; you conveniently forgot to mention a "little, insignificant company" called Sony.

"The first compact disc was produced exactly 25 years ago in a factory in Germany after years of development by Philips and Sony.”

http://history-computer.com/ModernComputer/Basis/floppy_disk.html

Extremely bitter!

Moderator: You were suspended yesterday for 24 hours. Please do not attempt to post any comments. If you do, the suspension starts again. You may resume from Sunday morning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Instant ramen is absolutely disgusting."

And yet 100,000,000,000 packets of it were sold last year!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Mr. Noidall "Who cares if an American invented the computer or a great Scot the telephone".

Nobody cares because first workable computer was invented and built by Konrad Zuse in Germany. Also the telephone was invented and built by Johann Philipp Reiss in Germany.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@serrano No accounting for taste. Or lack of it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nobody cares because first workable computer was invented and built by Konrad Zuse in Germany. Also the telephone was invented and built by Johann Philipp Reiss in Germany.

Stop behaving silly! Where would the computer be without a Gates or a Jobs and their respective crews? And where would the phone be without Alexander graham bell? But that's beside the point I was making. Okay, okay... You get you get to score one point. Is your ego satisfied?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

onigiri - it does save the lives of busy people commuting and running around between tight schedules.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Peeping_tom: the best post so far.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

yes japan has invented many products but it certainly doesnt show in Nobel Prizes, dominated by Europeans, Americans, UK. So it could be fair to say that while japan has invented many things, not of enough importance that has changed the world.

By the same logic, a musician is not important unless he/she has won many Grammies. Awards are always political - and suspect even a good number of Nobel judges would not agree that the Nobel Prize is the ultimate arbiter of importance.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

By the same logic, a musician is not important unless he/she has won many Grammies. Awards are always political - and suspect

Whatever. & if the japanaese had an original ideal, it would need to be plucked out of their as*es like daimonds!!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites