Nikujaga was invented by chefs of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the late 19th century. The story that Tōgō Heihachirō ordered naval cooks to create a version of the beef stews served in the British Royal Navy was devised as part of an ongoing campaign beginning in 1895 to promote the city of Maizuru, Kyoto, which hosted an Imperial Japanese Navy base where Tōgō was stationed, as the birthplace of nikujaga. The municipal government of Kure, Hiroshima, responded in 1998 with a competing claim that Tōgō commissioned the dish while serving as chief of staff of the Kure naval base.
^Asami Nagai, "Cities claim signature dishes cooked up in navy galleys", Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 February 2000. Retrieved on 2009-03-24. "As it happens, Togo had studied naval science in Britain from 1871 to 1878, so Shimizu reasoned he must have eaten beef stew occasionally. 'We concocted a story that Togo ordered the cooks to fix something similar to beef stew,' he said."