Posted Friday, 03 June 2005 / 21:30 p.m. JST
The Father of Instant Noodles Turns Out to Be Taiwanese
Source: Liberty Times
The father of the instant noodleMomofuku Ando, the founder of Japan's Nissin Foodsplans to resign his position from the company at the end of this month. This will mark the formal end to the efforts of the developer of instant noodles, who has made the product popular throughout the world.
But insiders know a certain detail about Momofuku Ando that most people are not aware of. Momofuku Ando actually comes from Puzi Township in Taiwan's Jiayi County. Decades ago he was engaged in the knitted textile products business in Taiwan. When he was 23 years old, he crossed the ocean and ended up in Osaka, Japan. There he had created a new product, instant noodles.
Momofuku Ando's original name is Wu Pai-fu. He was born in Taiwan in 1910 and lost both of his parents when he was a young boy. As a result, he was raised by his grandfather and came to be an expert in the silk fabric trade, in which his grandfather was involved. By the time he was 22, he spent 190,000 Japanese yen to set up a company that sold knitted textiles in the Yungle section of Taipei. He would purchase these knitted products from Japan and then sell them in Taiwan.
In 1933, he went to Osaka Japan for business. After Taiwan's retrocession, in which colonial rule by Japan of Taiwan ended, Wu moved his family to Japan and retained his Japanese citizenship. It was at that time that he changed his name to Momofuku Ando. In 1948, he founded the company that would later be known as Nissin Food Products. In 1958, he successfully developed a type of noodle that could be prepared and eaten almost instantly just by pouring boiling water into a cup holding the noodles. Word has it that Momofuku Ando's business in Taiwan in his early years was not nearly as successful as he might have liked. In addition, he has already been a Japanese citizen for many years. As a result, he rarely came back to Taiwan.
In 1971, Momofuku Ando introduced the concept of instant noodles in a cup. The product became wildly popular and soon could be found all throughout the world. Many other food product manufacturers copied the idea, marketing their own products. Nissin Food Products, which began its operations initially with the instant noodle product, eventually saw its annual revenues exceed 300 billion yen (roughly NT$86.64 billion). Momofuku Ando recently said in a statement that given that he has already reached the age of 95, nearly a century. He said that the ways of the times changed drastically before and after World War II. He said that he saw many people dying from hunger after the war due to a shortage of food. It was because of this that he decided to devote himself to the food industry. He added that he firmly believes that only if the world has ample food will there be a chance for the world to be at peace. Momofuku Ando said the reason that he invented the instant noodle was, "I could imagine that if I brought ramen noodles into the homes of people, enabling them to eat the noodles at whatever time they chose, they would be very happy. My motive for the invention was as simple as that."
Momofuku Ando said that throughout the journeys of his long life, he has received the concern and assistance of a countless number of people. Many people love instant noodles and have incorporated the product into their daily lives. In light of the contribution he has made in the world of food, Momofuku Ando in 1981 was made an honorary citizen of Los Angeles, California. In addition, he received medals of honor from the governments of Brazil and Thailand in 1983 and 2001, respectively.
Momofuku Ando: A late bloomer invented the instant noodles that fueled the Asian Miracle
Someone had to feed Asia's economic miracle. All those construction workers with 10 minutes between shifts and those salarymen hunched over their desks at midnight needed something cheap, something filling and, most of all, something fast. In 1958, Momofuku Ando, an unassuming entrepreneur living in Osaka, created the instant noodle and a continent has been feasting on his invention ever since. [ Continued >> ]
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