Kobayashi at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2009
March 15, 1978 |
|Other names||"The Tsunami", "Kobi"|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Weight||128 lb (58 kg)|
Takeru Kobayashi (小林尊 Kobayashi Takeru ) (born March 15, 1978) is a Japanese competitive eater. He holds several records, including four Guinness Records, for eating hot dogs, meatballs, Twinkies, hamburgers, and pasta.
Competition and records 
Born in Nagano, Japan, Kobayashi set his first record at his rookie appearance on July 4, 2001, when he ate 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes at the Nathan's Coney Island hot dog-eating contest, doubling the previous record of 25. The record was so unexpected that when Kobayashi got to the later numbers, the organizers ran out of signs indicating how many dogs Kobayashi had eaten and had to resort to handwritten signs. Kobayashi would go on to break his own record three times in winning the contest six consecutive times (2001–2006).
In the 2006 Krystal Square Off, Kobayashi's mark of 97 hamburgers was 30 better than his winning total in 2005 and 28 better than the World Record he set in 2004.
At a speed-eating contest in Hong Kong on August 13, 2005, Kobayashi consumed 83 vegetarian jiaozi dumplings in 8 minutes. The next day, he ate 100 roasted pork buns in 12 minutes. Kobayashi also won the 2005 Alka-Seltzer US Open of Competitive Eating, a three-hour IFOCE elimination tournament on ESPN, as well as the Glutton Bowl, a two-hour IFOCE eating special that aired on the Fox Network in 2002. However, on Fox's 2003 show Man vs. Beast, Kobayashi lost in an eating competition against a 1089-pound Kodiak bear, when he ate 31 bunless hot dogs in 2 minutes and 36 seconds to the bear's 50.
On August 5, 2006, Kobayashi set yet another world record at the Johnsonville World Bratwurst Eating Championship in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, by downing 58 bratwurst sausages in 10 minutes, shattering the previous record of 35 set the previous year by Sonya Thomas.
On September 23, 2006, Takeru Kobayashi set the world record at the Phantom Food Festival in Boston, Massachusetts, for eating 41 Summer Shack lobster rolls in 10 minutes, replacing the previous record of 22 rolls.
Other world-eating records held by Kobayashi include 17.7 pounds of cow brains in 15 minutes and 20 pounds (9 kg) of rice balls in 30 minutes.
On June 25, 2007, Kobayashi announced on his blog that he seriously injured his jaw during training. He stated that he could only open his jaw about the width of a fingertip. Kobayashi's participation in the July 4, 2007, Nathan's contest continued as scheduled. He was able to eat a personal record 63 hot dogs, though his mark was bettered by Chestnut's 66.
On July 4, 2008, Kobayashi once again competed in the Nathan's contest. He and Chestnut reached a tie of 59 hot dogs and buns each, but he came in second to Chestnut in a 5-dog tiebreaker eatoff.
On July 4, 2009, he competed again in the Nathan's contest. While he reached 64.5 hot dogs and buns, Chestnut beat him by 3.5 with 68 hot dogs and buns.
On July 4, 2011, Kobayashi competed on the rooftop of a Manhattan bar simultaneously with the Nathan's Contest at Coney Island via a live video simulcast of the event. Kobayashi finished 69 hot dogs, one more than the officially recognized world record. Chestnut, told reporters "I think even Kobayashi would agree that the record still stands at 68. And if he wants to compete with me on the Fourth of July, he knows what he has to do - sign a simple contract and man up."
On September 5, 2011, Kobayashi competed in another hot dog contest in which he consumed 49 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
On January 23, 2012. Kobayashi went on The Wendy Williams Show to set the record for eating the most Twinkies in one minute, for the "Save The Twinkie" campaign, and set a new world record of 14 Twinkies.
On February 3, 2012, Kobayashi set the new Wing Bowl record for eating chicken wings at Wing Bowl XX, held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. His total was 337 wings in his first competition in that event.
On June 30, 2012 Kobayashi revealed the Major League Eating contract he was required to sign in order to compete in Nathan's Fourth of July hot dog eating competition. The year-long contract limited him to $40,000 and took away any rights to endorse or engage in anything outside of what MLE mandated.
On July 4, 2012 Kobayashi competed in a non-Major League Eating sanctioned hot dog eating competition at the same time as the Nathan's Fourth of July hot dog eating competition. While initial reporting stated that Kobayashi bested MLE competitor Joey Chestnut with a score of 68.5 to 68 hot dogs consumed, this was disputed by contest officials the next day who claimed Kobayashi's total was 58.5 hot dogs, falling behind Joey Chestnut by 9.5 hot dogs.
Training and techniques 
Kobayashi expands his stomach for a competition by eating larger and larger amounts of food, and then exercises to ensure that fat will not impede expansion of his stomach during a competition.
Kobayashi's official web site gives his height as 173 cm (5 ft 8 in) and his weight as 58 kg (128 lb). However he's weighed as much as 87 kg (191.8 lb) according to a June 29, 2006 blog entry. As of July 4, 2009, Kobayashi weighed in at 60 kg (132 lb) for the annual Fourth of July hot dog eating competition on Coney Island.
Kobayashi is also known for his trademark body wiggle, referred to by some as the "Kobayashi Shake", to force food down his esophagus and settle more compactly in his stomach. He eats the hot dogs by splitting the frankfurter in half, dipping the buns in water, Sprite, or 7-Up and then stuffing both parts in his mouth. He calls this the Solomon Method.
Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 
From 2001 to 2006, Kobayashi won Nathan's Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest an unprecedented six times in a row. He held the record for hot dogs eaten in the competition from his first appearance until 2007, when current record holder Joey Chestnut claimed the first of six consecutive victories.
Annual results 
(hot dogs & buns)
|2010||DNC (contract dispute)|
* set new world record
Yellow = World record holder
1 Contest time reduced from 12 to 10 minutes.
Glutton Bowl 
Kobayashi ate 31 hot-dogs in the hot dog eating round, putting him into the finals. For the final round of the Glutton Bowl, the contestants had to eat a bowl of brains. Kobayashi won with a finished plate of 55 brains.
- 2001: Glutton Bowl Hot Dog Champion (31 Hot Dogs)
- 2001: Glutton Bowl Main Event Champion (55 Brains)
Krystal Square Off 
Kobayashi was also the reigning champion of the Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship until 2007, when he could not compete due to a recent wisdom tooth extraction. The 2007 winner was Joey Chestnut, who ate 103 hamburgers. In 2009, Kobayashi regained his Krystal title with 93 hamburgers, winning by a 10-burger margin.
Kobayashi broke the world record for how many grilled cheeses could be eaten in 1 minute—he downed a devastating 13 sandwiches (compared to competitor Crown Julez' zero) at the GroupMe Grill on March 11, 2012.
July 4th 2010 arrest 
On June 28, 2010, Kobayashi announced he would not compete in the Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Competition. The impasse was reportedly due to a Major League Eating's insistence that Kobayashi sign an exclusive contract with the organization that would prevent him from competing in contests not sanctioned by MLE.
On July 4, 2010, Kobayashi was in attendance at the Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest, watching from the crowd. Wearing a black T-shirt that read "Free Kobi", Kobayashi mingled with the crowd, standing inside a police-barricaded pen just under the stage. After the competition ended, he slipped up the stage stairs and crashed the stage. Although he was initially ushered by security officers up to the stage, one security officer (thought to have been requested by George Shea), quickly ushered him offstage as he resisted vehemently, hanging on to the barricades and fences before being taken into custody. Though some witnesses reported that Kobayashi was attempting to congratulate the winner, Joey Chestnut, co-host and Major League Eating President Richard Shea, stated that "[Kobayashi] tried to jump on stage during the awards ceremony to disrupt it." With the crowd chanting, "Free Kobi!" and "Let him eat! Let him eat!”, police handcuffed him. He was charged with resisting arrest, trespassing and obstructing governmental administration and spent the rest of the 4th of July in jail awaiting an appearance in Brooklyn Criminal Court.
Kobayashi's interpreter and publicist, Maggie James said he had originally gone in hopes to cheer on his fellow competitive eaters, but after arriving and the chanting from the fans, he was swooped onto the stage due to the excitement. She said "There's a contract dispute, they weren't giving him his freedom. It was unfair." 
Kobayashi told reporters he had a sandwich and a glass of milk while being held. "I am very hungry," he said. "I wish there were hot dogs in jail." 
On August 5, 2010 all charges against Kobayashi were dismissed by a judge in Brooklyn. Despite his record six consecutive victories in their annual event, Nathan's removed Kobayashi's image from their "Wall of Fame" in 2011.
2011 competing events 
||The neutrality of this section is disputed. (July 2011)|
In 2011, Kobayashi was still barred from the annual Nathan's event due to the contract dispute. On July 4, he competed on the rooftop of a Manhattan bar, 230 Fifth, for the duration of the Coney Island contest. Two judges observed Kobayashi while the live broadcast of the event played next to him on a large television screen. Kobayashi finished a record 69 hot dogs, one more than the Nathan's world record and seven more than Chestnut's winning total in the 2011 contest. "I want to remain free to compete in the events that I want to compete in," Kobayashi said. "Today was a great success." Informed of the number, Major League Eating president George Shea said, “The champion of the world is crowned in Coney Island. Always has been, always will be. He put a tin crown on his head and called himself king.” However, the sports website Deadspin deemed Kobayashi's solo appearance "an improbably perfect 'up yours' to the Nathan's hot dog eating contest."
Other pursuits 
In Spring 2011, Kobayashi appeared in his first major fashion editorial in Canada's The Block magazine. Additionally, Kobayashi is an aspiring dog trainer, with six labradoodles he calls his "hot dogs." 
On March 20, 2012, Kobayashi appeared in a Jake and Amir video produced by College Humor.
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