Kuidaore Ningyo – the Kuidaore neon sign at night
Perhaps you’ve heard the famous saying about Osaka, “Osaka no kuidaore,” that is, “they’ll eat until they’re bankrupt in Osaka.” Sometimes it’s also translated as “they’ll eat until they drop in Osaka.”
In any case, in the news yesterday, it was reported that the well known restaurant and symbol of Osaka, Kuidaore will close its business on July 8th this year. The drumming clown in front of this multi-storied restaurant is well known throughout Japan and is a popular site to have your picture taken when visiting Osaka.
To tell you the truth, I’ve never eaten there. Now that they’re closing, though, I’m tempted to try to get down to Osaka on our next long weekend to try it out.
Here is the story from the Japan Times:
The Japan Times Online
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Landmark Osaka eatery set to close
OSAKA (Kyodo) A landmark Osaka eatery known for its giant, drum-beating minstrel doll out front said that after nearly 60 years, it is closing.
Osaka Meibutsu Kuidaore (Osaka Famous Kuidaore) restaurant, founded in 1949, faxed the media Tuesday to announce it will shut down July 8 due to difficulties in continuing the family business, as well as the aging of its building and facilities.
The eight-story restaurant serves a wide variety of food, from Japanese to Western.
The minstrel, named Kuidaore Taro, is modeled after bunraku puppets. It has delighted visitors and passersby for decades, serving as a symbol of not only the restaurant but also of Osaka’s Dotonbori district.
Following the news report, fans rushed to see the musical mannequin Wednesday.
“Just like the Statue of Liberty, the doll should be placed in a prominent location where people can admire (it) after the close of the restaurant,” said a 70-year-old man who came from Nara.
“I wonder if the doll can be displayed in a museum as a symbol of Osaka and the postwar period,” said a deputy manager of the nearby restaurant Zuboraya.
The restaurant’s late founder, Rokuro Yamada, had reportedly instructed his son and current president, Shohei Yamada, to keep the restaurant as their family business, not to open other branches and to take care of Taro, according to the restaurant.
The restaurant, capitalized at ¥24 million, has seen declining sales in recent years