Momofuku Ando

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Momofuku Ando
Momofuku Ando.jpg
Born(1910-03-05)March 5, 1910
Phoh-á-kha, Kagi-chō, Japanese Taiwan, Empire of Japan
(now Puzi, Chiayi County, Taiwan)
DiedJanuary 5, 2007(2007-01-05) (aged 96)
Alma materRitsumeikan University [1]
Known forInventing of instant noodles
Spouse(s)Masako Ando
ChildrenHirotoshi Ando
Koki Ando
Akemi Horinouchi

Momofuku Ando (Japanese: 安藤 百福, Hepburn: Andō Momofuku), ORS, (March 5, 1910 – January 5, 2007) was a Taiwanese-Japanese inventor and businessman who founded Nissin Food Products Co., Ltd.. He is known as the inventor of instant noodles and the creator of the brands Top Ramen and Cup Noodles.

Early life and education[edit]

Ando was born Wu Bai Fu吳百福 in 1910 into a wealthy family in Kagi-chō (Japanese: 嘉義廳, modern-day Chiayi County), Japanese Formosa (Taiwan), and raised by his grandparents within the city walls of Tainan-chō (臺南廳, Tainan) following the deaths of his parents.[1] His grandparents owned a small textiles store, which inspired him, at the age of 22, to start his own textiles company, using 190,000 yen, in Eiraku-chō (永樂町), Daitōtei, Taihoku (Taipei).

In 1933, Ando traveled to Osaka, where he established a clothing company while studying economics at Ritsumeikan University.[1]


Founding Nissin[edit]

After World War II, Taiwan was handed over to the Republic of China (1912–1949), and Ando had to choose between becoming a citizen of Taiwan (ROC) or remaining a Japanese subject. Ando chose the former in order to keep his ancestral properties in Taiwan (since all Japanese nationals had to forfeit their properties in Taiwan). However, Ando remained in Japan.

Ando was convicted of tax evasion in 1948 and served two years in jail. In his biography, Ando said he had provided scholarships for students, which at the time was a form of tax evasion. After he lost his company due to a chain-reaction bankruptcy, Ando founded what was to become Nissin in Ikeda, Osaka, Japan, starting off as a small family-run company producing salt.

Invention of Chicken Ramen[edit]

A recreation of Ando's Workshop at the Momofuku Andō Instant Ramen Museum.

With Japan still suffering from a shortage of food in the post-war era, the Ministry of Health tried to encourage people to eat bread made from wheat flour that was supplied by the United States. Ando wondered why bread was recommended instead of noodles, which were more familiar to the Japanese. The Ministry's response was that noodle companies were too small and unstable to satisfy supply needs, so Ando decided to develop the production of noodles by himself. The experience convinced him that "Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat."[2]

On August 25, 1958, at the age of 48, and after months of trial and error experimentation to perfect his flash-frying method, Ando marketed the first package of precooked instant noodles. The original chicken flavor is called Chikin Ramen. It was originally considered a luxury item with its price of ¥35 (¥608/US$5.69 in 2019 terms),[3] around six times that of traditional udon and soba noodles at the time. As of 2016, Chicken Ramen is still sold in Japan and now retails for around ¥120 (US$1.12), or approximately one-third the price of the cheapest bowl of noodles in a Japanese restaurant.

Cup Noodles Invention[edit]

According to The Financial Times, Ando's invention of Cup Noodles in 1971, at the age of 61, helped spark the popularity of instant noodles overseas. He had observed that Americans ate noodles by breaking the noodles in half, putting them into a paper cup, and pouring hot water over the noodles. They also ate them with a fork instead of chopsticks. Ando was inspired, and felt that a Styrofoam cup—with a narrower bottom than the top—would be the ideal vessel for holding noodles and keeping them warm. Eating the noodles would then be as easy as opening the lid, adding hot water and waiting. This simplicity, efficiency and low price of Cup Noodles went on to transform Nissin's fortunes.[4]

Ando began the sales of his most famous product, Cup Noodle (カップヌードル, Kappu Nūdoru), on September 18, 1971, with the idea of providing a waterproof polystyrene container.[5] As prices dropped, instant ramen soon became a booming business. Worldwide demand reached 98 billion servings in 2009.[6]

Riot Police Unit ate Cup Noodles

In 1972, Asama-Sansō incident (Famous hostage crisis and police siege in February 1972) was happened in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It helped for sale. At that time, Riot Police Unit in Japan were often ate Cup Noodles and it hit screens again and again.

Failure of CUP Rice[edit]

Starting in July 1974, Nissin started to sell "CUP Rice". This invention offered by the master of Food agency. He wanted someone to invent "Manufactured food of rice which you just pour in the water." Politicians and people who worked in the Food agency ate samples of it. Their evaluations were very high. In addition, mass communications reported that it was a "miraculous food", and they wrote "Deliverer thing that people who make rice." However, CUP Rice’s catalog price was expensive because the price of rice was more expensive than wheat. Customers stopped buying CUP Rice because it was expensive. So, Ando needed to stopped selling CUP Rice. He spend 3 billions yen to build a factory to make CUP Rice. It is two times as much as capital fund. In addition, it almost same as sales in one year. At then Ando was filled with determination to lose it. According to this book,[1] named "魔法のラーメン発明物語"(It was written in Japanese.) Andou wrote this comment about this experience "There is a trap in compliments."

Industry memberships[edit]

In 1964, seeking a way to promote the instant noodle industry, Ando founded the Instant Food Industry Association, which set guidelines for fair competition and product quality, introducing several industry standards such as the inclusion of production dates on packaging and the "fill to" line. He was also the chairman of the International Ramen Manufacturers' Association.

Personal life and death[edit]

Silver statue of Momofuku Ando

In 1966, Ando naturalized through marriage and became a Japanese citizen. "Momofuku" is the Japanese reading of his Taiwanese given name (百福; Pek-hok), while Andō (安藤) is the last name of his Japanese wife.

Ando died of heart failure on January 5, 2007, at a hospital in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, at the age of 96.[2]

Ando was survived by his wife Masako, two sons and a daughter. Ando claimed that the secret of his long life was playing golf and eating Chicken ramen almost every day. He was said to have eaten instant ramen until the day he died.[7][8]

The New York Times wrote an editorial about his achievement.[9] It said, "Cup Noodles is a creative innovation in Japan like Honda Civic, Walkman and Hello Kitty and they thought it made by a company, but it's not. Cup noodles made by himself."

After death[edit]

On April 8th, 2008, Heisei 20th, Andou's bronze statue was unveiled at CUP NOODLES MUSEUM in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture [2], because the Ramen summit was held at Osaka. The base looks a Cup Noodles container and his statue is standing on it. In addition, he is holding a Chicken Ramen packet in his right hand. Yasuhiro Nakasone and Masako Andou (Andou's wife) attended the unveiling ceremony. There is a monument in the museum, written by Nakasone.

On October 1st, 2008, the company's name was changed "NISSIN FOODS HOLDINGS". At the same time, Nissin Foods Products Co., Ltd was founded. In the same year, Project Hyakufukusi was started.

On March 5th, 2015, a Google Doodle celebrated his birthday. [10]


Ando was repeatedly honored with medals by the Japanese government and the emperor—including The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, Second Class—in 2002, which is the second-most prestigious Japanese decoration for Japanese civilians.

  • Medal of Honor with Blue Ribbon (1977)
  • Order of the Sacred Treasure, Second Class, Gold and Silver Star (1982)
  • Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon (1983)
  • Director-General of the Science and Technology Agency "Distinguished Service Award" (1992)
  • Order of the Rising Sun, Second Class, Gold and Silver Star (2002)

Foreign decoration[edit]

Order of precedence[edit]

  • Senior fourth rank (2007, posthumous)



The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is named after him.

In 2015, Google placed a doodle created by Google artist Sophie Diao on its main web page commemorating his birthday on March 5.[12]

The name of the Momofuku restaurants in the United States alludes to Momofuku Ando.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c 速食麵之父 吳百福病逝. Liberty Times (in Chinese). 2007-01-07. Archived from the original on 2007-01-09.
  2. ^ a b "Ando was king of instant ramen". Japan Times. Kyodo. 2007-01-07. Archived from the original on 2007-05-19.
  3. ^ "RCCラジオ-土曜はドドーンと満員御礼" (in Japanese). RCC Broadcasting. Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
  4. ^ "Obituary: Momofuku Ando". Financial Times. 2007-01-15. Archived from the original on 2007-02-22.
  5. ^ "Space-age funeral for 'Mr Noodle'". BBC News. February 28, 2007. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
  6. ^ "Expanding Market". World Instant Noodles Association. Archived from the original on 2012-06-06. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
  7. ^ 安藤百福さん 死去前日、社員とチキンラーメン雑煮 [Mr. Ando ate Chikin Ramen with colleagues the day before he passed away.] (in Japanese). The Sankei Shimbun Web-site. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
  8. ^ Người phát minh ra mì ăn liền qua đời (in Vietnamese)
  9. ^ "Momofuku Ando, 96, Dies; Invented Instant Ramen". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  10. ^ 安藤百福生誕 105 周年 Google Doodle アーカイブ
  11. ^ ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานเครื่องราชอิสริยาภรณ์ให้แก่ชาวต่างประเทศ, เล่ม 118, ตอน 13 ข, 30 กรกฎาคม 2554, หน้า 7
  12. ^ Cavna, Michael (5 March 2015). "Momofuku Ando: Inventor of instant ramen artfully saluted with Google Noodle Doodle". Washington Post. Washington DC, United States. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  13. ^ Chang, David; Stabile, Peter Meehan; photographs by Gabriele (2009). Momofuku (1st ed.). New York: Clarkson Potter. p. 28. ISBN 0-307-45195-X.

External links[edit]