Cover of Oishinbo tankōbon volume 102, featuring Shirō Yamaoka (top right).
|Written by||Tetsu Kariya|
|Illustrated by||Akira Hanasaki|
|Magazine||Big Comic Spirits|
|Original run||October 1983 – May 12, 2014 (indefinite hiatus)|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Yoshio Takeuchi|
|Produced by||Hidehiko Takei (Nippon TV)|
Yoshio Katō (Shin-Ei Animation)
|Written by||Ryūzō Nakanishi|
|Music by||Kazuo Otani|
Studio Deen (Cooperation)
|Original network||Nippon TV|
|Original run||17 October 1988 – 17 March 1992|
|Anime television film|
|Oishinbo: Kyūkyoku Tai Shikō, Chōju Ryōri Taiketsu!!|
|Directed by||Iku Suzuki|
|Written by||Haruya Yamazaki|
|Music by||Kazuo Otani|
Studio Deen (Cooperation)
|Original network||Nippon TV|
|Released||11 December 1992|
|Anime television film|
|Oishinbo: Nichibei Kome Sensō|
|Directed by||Iku Suzuki|
|Written by||Haruya Yamazaki|
|Music by||Kazuo Otani|
Studio Deen (Cooperation)
|Original network||Nippon TV|
|Released||3 December 1993|
|Directed by||Azuma Morisaki|
|Produced by||Shigehiro Nakagawa|
|Written by||Toshiharu Maruuchi|
|Music by||Takayuki Inoue|
|Released||April 13, 1996|
Oishinbo (美味しんぼ, "The Gourmet") is a long-running cooking manga written by Tetsu Kariya and drawn by Akira Hanasaki. The manga's title is a portmanteau of the Japanese word for delicious, oishii, and the word for someone who loves to eat, kuishinbo. The series depicts the adventures of culinary journalist Shirō Yamaoka and his partner (and later wife), Yūko Kurita. It was published by Shogakukan between 1983 and 2008 in Big Comic Spirits, and resumed again on February 23, 2009, only to be put on an indefinite hiatus after the May 12, 2014 edition in the weekly Big Comic Spirits as a response by the publisher to harsh criticism of Oishinbo's treatment of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
Before this suspension, Oishinbo was collected in 111 tankōbon volumes, making it the 10th longest manga released and the seventh best-selling manga series in history. The series was a perennial best-seller, selling 1.2 million copies per volume, for a total of more than 130 million copies sold.
The series received the 1986 Shogakukan Manga Award for seinen/general manga. It was adapted as a 136-episode anime television series broadcast on TV Asahi from October 17, 1988, to March 17, 1992, followed by two sequel TV anime film specials in 1992 and 1993.
It was adapted into a live-action film directed by Azuma Morisaki starring Kōichi Satō and Rentarō Mikuni, and premiered on April 13, 1996. The manga is licensed in English in North America by Viz Media.
In March 2016, writer Tetsu Kariya announced on his blog that he wanted to end the manga after it returned from hiatus. He wrote that "30 years is too long for many things" and that he believed "it's about time to end it." 
Oishinbo is a drama featuring journalist Shiro Yamaoka who works for Touzai Shimbun. He is a cynical food critic who is tasked by the newspaper's owner, along with the young Yuko Kurita, to provide recipes for the "ultimate menu". During their search, the encounter Yamaoka's fastidious and demanding father, Kaibara Yuzan, a famous gourmand who tries to sabotage Yamaoka's project.
The character names listed here are in western order of family name last. The official English language manga volumes use the Japanese naming order of family name first.
- Shirō Yamaoka (山岡 士郎, Yamaoka Shirō) Voiced by: Kazuhiko Inoue
- Played by Toshiaki Karasawa (1994 show), Masahiro Matsuoka (2007 show)
- Shirō Yamaoka a 27-year-old journalist for the Tōzai News (東西新聞社, Tōzai Shinbun)'s culture division and the head of its "Ultimate Menu" project. He is the only son of the world-famous potter and gourmand Yūzan Kaibara. He was forced to cook in his father's "Gourmet Club" when he was still at school and he resents his father, blaming him for his mother's early death. He once destroyed his father's paintings and ceramics because he believed his father cared more about food and his reputation than his family. Yamaoka appears lazy and uninterested unless it concerns food where he possesses a deep knowledge.
- Yūko Kurita (栗田 ゆう子, Kurita Yūko) Voiced by: Mayumi Shō
- Played by Yuriko Ishida (1-3), Yasuko Tomita (4-5) (1995 show), Yuka (2007 show)
- Kurita is Yamaoka's co-worker and assists him in the "Ultimate Menu" project. She later becomes his wife and they have two children together, Yōji (陽士) and Yumi (遊美).
- Yūzan Kaibara (海原 雄山, Kaibara Yūzan) Voiced by: Chikao Ōtsuka
- Played by Yoshio Harada (1), Tōru Emori (2-5) (1994 show); Ken Matsudaira (2007 show)
- Kaibara is Yamaoka's father and rival. Kaibara trained Yamaoka, but the two had a falling-out. The relationship worsens when Kaibara begins to work for the "Supreme Menu" project of the Teito Times (帝都新聞, Teito Shinbun), a rival newspaper. Kaibara is the founder and director of the "Gourmet Club". He is also an artist and the author of the "Dictionary of Poetic References." He is modelled after Kitaoji Rosanjin.
- Daizō Ōhara (大原 大蔵, Ōhara Daizō) Voiced by: Osamu Saka
- Ōhara is the publisher of the Tōzai News and initiates the "Supreme Menu" project.
- Kyōichi Koizumi (小泉 鏡一, Koizumi Kyōichi) Voiced by: Seizō Katō
- Hideo Tanimura (谷村 秀夫, Tanimura Hideo) Voiced by: Shunsuke Shima
- Tanimura is the director of the arts and culture department of the Tōzai News.
- Tomio Tomii (富井 富雄, Tomii Tomio) Voiced by: Osamu Katō
- Tomii is the deputy director of the arts and culture department
- Tōjin Tōyama (唐山 陶人, Tōyama Tōjin) Voiced by: Kōsei Tomita
- Tōyama is a famous ceramicist and gourmet.
- Seiichi Okaboshi (岡星 精一, Okaboshi Seiichi) Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto
- Okaboshi is a talented young chef and the owner of Yamaoka's preferred place to socialize.
- Mantarō Kyōgoku (京極 万太郎, Kyōgoku Mantarō) Voiced by: Takeshi Watabe
- He is a wealthy businessperson and a gourmet.
- Noriko Hanamura (花村 典子, Hanamura Noriko) Voiced by: Rei Sakuma
- Kinue Tabata (田畑 絹江, Tabata Kinue) Voiced by: Rin Mizuhara
- Mariko Niki (近城 まり子, Niki Mariko) Voiced by: Saeko Shimazu
- Mariko Niki, originally Mariko Futaki (二木 まり子, Futaki Mariko), is one of Yamaoka's and Kurita's co-workers. For many early volumes she romantically pursues Yamaoka. When Yamaoka realizes her intentions (The Spirit of the Sardine chapter), Yamaoka says that he is not interested in marrying her even though he would gain financial and social advantages. The Futaki family, at that time, did not have a male heir. In Japanese tradition, wealthy families without male heirs adopted one of the husbands into the family and Yamaoka was seen as an appropriate prospect.
- Chairman Futaki (二木会長, Futaki-kaichō)
- He is Mariko's grandfather. In Japanese, the members of the Futaki family are distinguished by the honorifics. The grandfather is "Chairman Futaki," the father is "President Futaki," and Mariko is "Futaki-san."
- Takashi Futaki (二木 崇, Futaki Takashi)
- He is Mariko's father.
- Teruko (輝子)
- Teruko is Mariko's aunt.
- Inspector Nakamatsu (中松警部, Nakamatsu-keibu) Voiced by: Norio Fukudome
- Nakamatsu has a gruff exterior, but is quite soft-hearted and forms a friendship with Yamaoka.
- Tokuo Nakagawa (中川 得夫, Nakagawa Tokuo)
- He is the head chef of the "Gourmet Club."
- Fuyumi becomes Okaboshi's wife
- Dr. Iwakura
- Dr. Iwakura is Tanimura's former elementary school classmate.
- Tatsunojō "Tatsu" Hanamikōji (花見小路 辰之丈, Hanamikōji Tatsunojō)
- He is a homeless man. He collects leftovers from various restaurants in Ginza, so he knows which ones have the highest quality food. He introduced Yamaoka to Okaboshi's restaurant.
- Arthur Brown (アーサー・ブラウン, Āsā Buraun)
- He is an American friend of Yamaoka and Kurita. He speaks Japanese badly, using incorrect grammar, archaic Japanese and misuses idioms.
- She is the wife of Ozawa. Both had been previously married, and remarried each other. Out of habit he calls her "Haru-san."
|01||November 30, 1984||4-09-180751-8|
|02||March 30, 1985||4-09-180752-6|
|03||May 30, 1985||4-09-180753-4|
|04||October 30, 1985||4-09-180754-2|
|05||April 30, 1986||4-09-180755-0|
|06||July 30, 1986||4-09-180756-9|
|07||October 30, 1986||4-09-180757-7|
|08||December 17, 1986||4-09-180758-5|
|09||March 30, 1987||4-09-180759-3|
|10||May 30, 1987||4-09-180760-7|
|11||July 30, 1987||4-09-181401-8|
|12||September 30, 1987||4-09-181402-6|
|13||December 17, 1987||4-09-181403-4|
|14||March 30, 1988||4-09-181404-2|
|15||May 30, 1988||4-09-181405-0|
|No.||Title||Original air date|
Transcription: "Kyūkyoku no menyū" (究極のメニュー)
|October 17, 1988|
|To commemorate its 100th anniversary of the newspaper Touzai Shimbun, President Ohara announces a plan to publish the "Ultimate Menu". The assignment will be allocated to the reporters with the best taste in food and as a test, the assembled staff must distinguish the difference between three samples of water and tofu. Yamaoka is badly hung over and arrives late, so instead of carefully sampling, he drinks all the water and eats the tofu. When the results are examined, only Yūko Kurita, who has just completed her reporter training, and Yamaoka have correctly identified the samples which means that they will be to ones to implement the project. Ohara gathers Japan's most famous gourmands to devise the dishes hat will go into the “Ultimate Menu”, but Yamaoka insults their pretentious international choices such as fois gras. He spends the following week with fishermen who catch a Monkfish. Yamaoka skilfully removes the liver, washes it in sake and steams it, creating Ankimo (鮟肝) as the ship returns to port. At the tasting, Ohara declares that the fresh Ankimo tastes better than the canned fois gras and dismisses the gourmands.|
|2||"Father VS. Son"|
Transcription: "Shirō tai chichi・Yūzan" (士郎対父・雄山)
|October 24, 1988|
|Ohara decides to start an art section in Touzai and hopes to borrow a Renoir painting from Mr Kyogoku Mantaro. Ohara entertains him at a restaurant in Ginza, but Kyogoku finds the foods sub-standard and storms out so Ohara asks Yamaoka and Kurita to find a quality restaurant in Ginza. Yamaoka consults his friend, Tatsu who recommends Okaboshi restaurant which has a new talented young chef. The dinner party arrives and are presented with a meal of rice, miso soup and Tosan-style grilled fish. However, Kyogoku is incredibly impressed with the quality of the simple meal. He asks if Yamaoka is the son of Kaibara Yuzan, but Yamaoka denies it and offers his resignation at Touzai to avoid comparisons with his fastidious father. Kaibara then visits the Touzai office and challenges Yamaoka to a taste test of tempura. Kaibara and Yamaoka each select their chefs, but Kaibara's choice is declared the winner. Yamaoka is crushed, but later he withdraws his resignation, hoping to prove that he is the equal of his father.|
Transcription: "Yasai no Sendo" (野菜の鮮度)
|October 31, 1988|
|Yamaoka takes Kurita to the launch of a new department store built by Shuji Atayama, a well known gourmand. Yamaoka tastes the vegetables, but although they look good he finds they lack flavour. Atayama introduces them to his food court, featuring venues run by famous restaurants across Japan. However, Yamaoka regards them with disdain and accuses Atayama of selling stale vegetables and exploiting the restaurants who are forced to use sub-standard ingredients to cover their high rent. Atayama complains about Yamaoka to Touzai and withdraws his advertising from the paper. To salvage the situation, Yamaoka takes Atayama to a farm where he experiences the taste of fresh vegetables he ate as a child. As a result, Atayama changes his supply system and the store becomes a success by selling fresh produce.|
Transcription: "Ikita Sakana" (活きた魚)
|November 7, 1988|
|President Kuroda of Dainichi Electronics invites Ohara and Yamaoka to his recreation facility at Karuizawa for their annual banquet. Kuroda fancies himself as a chef and prepares the food for his guests which includes business clients and selected staff. He begins with a live white trevally from a holding tank which he serves as sashimi to great acclaim for his preparation skills, but a young boy says it does not taste fresh. Kuroda is outraged however Yamaoka agrees and he offers to supply fresh fish for comparison the next day. Yamaoka takes Kurita to a fish market where he buys a fresh trevally and has it quickly killed and bled, then packed in ice. That evening he and Kuroda both prepare their sashimi. The diners unanimously declare Yamaoka's fresh tastes best and he explains that a fish straight from the ocean is in better health and condition than fish which have been kept alive in a tank for over a week.|
|5||"Thick Soba Broth"|
Transcription: "Soba Tsuyu no Fukami" (そばツユの深味)
|November 14, 1988|
|Kurita offers to buy Yamaoka a cheap meal, so he takes her to an alley of vendor's stalls where he selects one run by Hanakawa which serves handmade soba noodles. The noodles are perfect, but Yamaoka states that the broth is lacking in flavour. Police arrive to shut down the stall because Hanakawa has no licence, but after police Inspector Nakamatsu tastes the meal, he offers to provide a licence if the broth improves. Hanakawa tries different recipes but is unsuccessful until Yamaoka tricks him into visiting a soba restaurant where he learns their secret broth recipe. Hanakawa uses it in his stall, and when Inspector Nakamatsu visits again, he grants him a licence, however Nakamatsu still expects some improvement in the flavour of the broth.|
|6||"The Phantom Fish"|
Transcription: "Maboroshi no Sakana" (幻の魚)
|November 21, 1988|
|The Touzai staff are invited to the re-opening of Hatsuyama restaurant, famous for traditional Japanese dishes and Yamaoka is ordered to attend. Before the meal, Kaibara also arrives and he insults his son's abilities. During the meal Kaibara and Yamaoka are asked to name their favourite sashimi fish. Kaibara names many fish, by Yamaoka names mackerel, a common fish which spoils easily and can cause food poisoning. Kaibara derides Yamaoka's choice but agrees to taste it. Yamaoka travels to Hayama seeking a "phantom mackerel", and goes out on a fishing boat to attempt to catch one. After three days, with the help of a local fisherman, Kurita manages to hook a large one. When it is prepared for the Touzai staff and Kaibara by a sashimi chef, it proves popular and full of flavour. Kaibara tastes the fish, but then storms out, complaining about the ugly design of the plates. However, a few days later, he sends some of his beautiful handmade plates to the restaurant.|
|7||"The Magic of Charcoal"|
Transcription: "Maboroshi no Sakana" (幻の魚))
|November 28, 1988|
|Inspector Nakamatsu seeks Yamaoka's help after Kinzo, a former chef at a famous eel restaurant called Ikada-ya, is arrested for creating a disturbance. He objected to the former owner's young son switching from charcoal to gas for grilling eel for efficiency. Yamaoka and Kurita help Kinzo set up his own temporary restaurant in Atayama's department store food court to compete against Ikada-ya. Kinzo' charcoal grilled eel is very successful and the chastened owner of Ikada-ya re-hires him to work in the restaurant.|
|8||"An Odd Dinner Date"|
Transcription: "Settai no myō" (接待の妙)
|December 5, 1988|
|Ohara is seeking donations for the newspaper's African food appeal and approaches President Heikichi Narisawa of Dainichi Oil. Hideo Tanimura and Kurita visit Narisawa at his headquarters which is a run-down building clearly reflecting the miserly attitude of the president. Narisawa agrees to donate if Touzai can provide him with a decent meal. Ohara invites Narisawa to dinner, but the oil baron storms out, objecting to the amount of money squandered on the meal in an expensive restaurant. To rescue the situation, Yamaoka invites his friend Tatsu to take Narisawa on a tour of a food fair in a department store where they indulge on the free delicacies and sake on offer. Narisawa is so impressed by the fact that Touzai spent no money on the food that he makes a very generous donation.|
|9||"The Heart Of Sushi"|
Transcription: "Sushi no kokoro" (寿司の心)
|December 12, 1988|
|Touzai President Ohara takes the culture section staff to a renowned sushi restaurant run by Gingorou but Yamaoka criticizes the quality of the preparation. He challenges Gingorou to visit another sushi restaurant to sample the food there. Yamaoka takes the Touzai staff to an obscure restaurant where Gingorou and the owner, Tomi, each prepare sushi with the same ingredients. In a blind taste test, Tomi's sushi is declared the winner much to Gingorou's annoyance. Yamaoka uses a hospital scanner to show the difference between preparations in the compactness of the rice. Tomi is then revealed to be the famous sushi chef, Tomijirou who left his restaurant to find happiness in preparing food for regular customers whom he regards as friends.|
|10||"The Rules of Cooking"|
Transcription: "Ryōri no rūru" (料理のルール)
|December 19, 1988|
|Le Canard, a famous French Restaurant opens in Ginza and invites selected guests to dinner. Tanimura, Tomii, Yamaoka and Kurita attend, but so does Kaibara Yuzan. Kaibara severely criticizes the fish entree, declaring that Japanese fish cooking style is better. When the main meal of duck is presented, Kaibara criticizes the traditional French sauce, preferring Japanese condiments. However, Yamaoka praises the sauce and accuses Kaibara of being conservative and reactionary. Kaibara challenges the guests to sample traditional Japanese cooking and prepares a series of dishes. When he serves bonito sashimi, Yamaoka asks for mayonnaise and combines it with soy sauce to accompany the fish. Everyone agrees that the unconventional flavours work together and Kaibara storms out in disgust. However, a few days later an article by Kaibara is published, praising the cuisine of Le Canard.|
|11||"The Power Of Clay Pots"|
Transcription: "Donabe no chikara" (土鍋の力)
|January 9, 1989|
|Mr. Fukuman, president of Tsurumori Transportation invites the Touzai cultural news team to a special meal. He presents blowfish on a heritage platter and a turtle soup cooked in his solid gold pot, however Yamaoka is unimpressed with the flavour and asserts that he can produce a better soup. The next day, Yamaoka presents everyone with a simple broth cooked in an old clay pot which has been used for making turtle soup for 30 years. The soup is delicious, and Fukuman offers to exchange his golden pot for the old, charred one.|
|12||"The secret of Stock"|
Transcription: "Dashi no himitsu" (ダシの秘密)
|January 16, 1989|
|President Ohara wants Yamaoka and his father to reconcile so that Kaibara can contribute to the Ultimate Menu but Kaibara flatly refuses. Ohara arranges for the Touzai culture section staff visit the renowned Hanayama restaurant for dinner while he also invites Kaibara dine with him separately. However, Kaibara complains about the quality of the food, especially the fish soup, and orders it to be remade. The Touzai staff learn about the difficult customer, and that a temporary chef has been engaged for the night. Yamaoka offers to help and he prepares a replacement soup stock and fish dish which impresses Kaibara. When Kaibara proceeds to the kitchen to compliment the chef on the meal, he discovers it was prepared by Yamaoka. He insults Ohara and Yamaoka then storms out, dashing Ohara's hopes of reconciliation.|
|13||"The Value of Labor"|
Transcription: "Tema no kachi" (手間の価値)
|January 23, 1989|
|Kurita takes her two friends and Yamaoka to Yokohama to sample Chinese food. She selects a popular restaurant where they have to wait in a queue, but Yamaoka says the food is sub-standard and forces them to leave. They try another venue, again with a long queue and Yamaoka again says the food is below par. The chef prepares to attack him, but the owner, Shu, intervenes and challenges Yamaoka to do better. He invites Yokohama to cook dongpo at his house and Yamaoka's version is declared the winner. Yokohama blames the popularity of the restaurant by Japanese clientele for the decline in standards. The chastised chef promise to do better, and dongpo becomes one of the dishes to be added to the Ultimate menu.|
|14||"The Champion's Favourite Food"|
Transcription: "Yokodzuna no kōbutsu" (横綱の好物)
|January 30, 1989|
|Ohara takes Kurita and Yamaoka to the Takayama sumo wrestling school where they sample the special stew, and are surprised when Kaibara also appears. Ohara will be hosting the school's pep rally, hosting the champion, Wakayoshiba, who requests a fish stew for the meal. On Ohara's recommendation, they decide on yellowtail as the fish to use. However, Yamaoka realizes that the fish is not in season which could embarrass his boss, much to Kaibara's delight. Yamaoka and Kurita fly to Hakata where he convinces Otsuka, the owner of a sumo tea-house there, to let him have a giant fresh saw-edged perch. As a fan of Wakayoshiba, Otsuka offers to travel to Tokyo and prepare it himself. He dramatically prepares the huge fish before the admiring guests. The dinner is a huge success and Yamaoka rescues Ohara from what could have been a very difficult situation.|
Transcription: "Nihon-fū karē" (日本風カレー)
|February 6, 1989|
|Gentarou Torasawa, an elderly judo master stops a purse-snatcher from stealing Kurita's money. He takes her with her two friends and Yamaoka to a Japanese curry restaurant run by his granddaughter Asae and her husband Kitao Tochikawa. Torasawa requested a curry without meat, and Kitao made one with sea perch but Torasawa declares that it is unedible. Yamaoka agrees that it is sub-standard because the fish is low in fat causing a lack of flavor. Torasawa storms out, taking Asae with him. Kitao explains that he was a going to represent Japan in judo at the Olympics but was injured and had to withdraw, opening a restaurant instead. Later, quite by chance, Yamaoka has the idea to incorporate bone marrow into the curry and it is successful, winning Torasawa's approval.|
|16||"The Power Of Open Flames"|
Transcription: "Chokubi no iryoku" (直火の威力)
|February 13, 1989|
|Kurita and Yamaoka travel to Yokohama to work on the Ultimate Menu. The are invited to visit Shu, whose wife asks their help. Her daughter, Mei-Mei, fell in love with their cook, Wang Xiaolong. They ran away and opened a small Chinese restaurant which has proved very popular. To achieve recognition from the Chinese community and be able to borrow money to establish his own restaurant, Wang will have to prove his culinary skills. He prepares a meal for the Chinese community leaders, but his fried rice fails to meet the standard they expect, and the loan is refused. Yamaoka intercedes and asks for a second chance. He shows Wang how to confidently control the flame and his second effort is successful. Shu and the other community leaders lend him the money he needs, and he is welcomed back into the family.|
|17||"A Hospitable Heart"|
Transcription: "Motenashi no kokoro" (もてなしの心)
|February 20, 1989|
|Toujin Touyama, a national treasure and famous potter who taught Kaibara, marries the much younger Ryouko Suzumura. At the wedding, Touyama asks Yamaoka to teach Ryouko how to cook. Kaibara disparages Yamaoka's culinary skills, and Toujin proposes a contest between father and son to cook rice and miso soup. The contest takes place, with Touyama's assistant Motomura preparing for Kaibara. Motomura's offerings are judged to be better and Kaibara explains the difference is the attention to detail and the hospitable heart that is part of the preparation. Yamaoka is devastated, and gives up betting on horse races, at least for a while.|
|18||"Freshness And Speed"|
Transcription: "Sendo to supīdo" (鮮度とスピード)
|February 27, 1989|
|Yamaoka writes an article for Touzai News accusing bikers of being cowardly and compensate for it by riding powerful machines. A group of bikers invade the Touzai offices and accuse Yamaoka of misunderstanding their pleasure from riding at high speed. Motomura quits working for Touyama who decides to throw a farewell party for him. When Yamaoka tastes the less than perfect oysters at the restaurant, he decides to enlist the bikers to take him to the Shima Peninsula to source the best oysters for dinner that night, a 1,100 kilometer round trip. The bikers take him there and arrive back at the restaurant just in time, but they are arrested for speeding. The oysters are a success, but Kaibara still criticizes Yamaoka for grandstanding.|
|19||"Love and Ice Cream"|
Transcription: "Hyōka to koi" (氷菓と恋)
|March 6, 1989|
|Kurita and her friends take Yamaoka to Roppongi and they come across a very popular ice cream parlor. While waiting in the queue they see police Inspector Nakamatsu ejected for creating a distrubance. When Kurita and Yamaoka question him he confesses that he is in love with an ice cream saleswoman, Utako Mizumori, but her shop is doing poorly. They try her ice cream and find that, although she uses the best ingredients, it tastes thick and heavy. Yamaoka devises a plan to improve her manufacturing technique, getting Nakamatsu to slice the Roppongi ice creams and hers with a samurai sword. Yamaoka shows that the Roppongi ice cream has more aeration, giving a more "melt-in-the-mouth" feeling. She changes her style accordingly and her shop becomes a success.|
Transcription: "Shokutaku no hirogari" (食卓の広がり)
|March 13, 1989|
|Ex-staff member Nobuko Mayama, formerly Hayashi, visits the Touzai offices. Although in the past she had a crush on Yamaoka, he ignored her and she married Mayama, the owner and President of Oboshi Realty. She reveals to her former co-workers that the marriage is unsatisfactory as her husband only eats a limited diet which he supplements with vitamins. Kurita persuades Yamaoka to help, and they all visit Nobuko at her home. They meet her husband and Yamaoka challenges him to a game of spinning tops, one of his eccentric pastimes, wagering that if he loses, he must have dinner with Yamaoka. They play the game and the husband loses, so the he must eat a meal prepared by Yamaoka. Yamaoka has Nobuko help him prepare a meal of tonkatsu using only the best ingredients. The husband resists, explaining that he was raised by a strict tutor and maid who only prepared a limited menu. However, after Yamaoka forces him to honour his agreement, the husband tearfully realizes that a new world of flavour is open to him.|
The first movie, Oishinbo: Ultimate vs. Supreme (美味しんぼ 究極対至高 長寿料理対決!!, Oishinbo: Kyūkyoku Tai Shikō, Chōju Ryōri Taiketsu!!) was released in December 1992.
President Ohara has a health scare, so the Touzai Shimbun and Teito Times agree to focus on recipes which prolong life in the next round of the competition between, Touzai's Ultimate Menu and Teito's Supreme Menu. Kurita suggests the that team travels to Okinawa because of the long lifespan of residents there. They meet the restaurant owner, Noguchi Hatsumi, who introduces them to traditional shinji food comprised mainly of pork, vegetables and herbs, seaweed and tofu, plus the local speciality of sea snake.
The group then flies to Ishigaki-jima south-west of Okinawa island, and from the airplane they see red clay soil flowing into the sea as the result of intensive commercial agriculture. They land, and learn about the planned New Ishigaki Airport in the Shiraho district which could cause a greater threat to the Shiraho Coral Reef. They encounter Kaibara who is being courted by a developer looking for support to construct a resort adjacent to the new airport. However, Kaibara refuses to help him because of his greed for short term financial gain which will destroy the ingredients of a long life. This provides a hint to Yamaoka on how to develop his menu.
Back in Tokyo, the menu contest is held at the restaurant Sumitori. Kaibara presents dishes with exotic and expensive ingredients, but also says that eating any healthy food regularly is the secret to long life. Touyama then proposes that the simple diet of monks effectively enables them to live a long life. Yamaoka disagrees, and surprises everyone by arguing that the Japanese diet is not balanced, is lacking in some essential nutritional elements and is in fact unhealthy. He then presents his menu, the type of foods people should eat every day for a long life. His dishes consist of commonly available foods, combined in the appropriate proportions which provide nutrition and assist in combating disease.
The second movie, Oishinbo: Japan-US Rice War (美味しんぼ 日米コメ戦争, Oishinbo: Nichibei Kome Sensō) was released a year later in December 1993.
The next round of the competition between, Touzai's Ultimate Menu and Teito's Supreme Menu is decided to be "side dishes for rice". Daikon is the first ingredient and both Kaibara and Yamaoka present excellent samples and the contest ends in a draw. However, Kaibara announces that cheap United States rice is ruining the palates of Japanese people because they are losing the taste for aromatic rice such as kaorimai. Later, at a dinner at Touzai a heated argument develops over the upcoming trade talks between the USA and Japan over the demand to open Japanese markets to USA agricultural imports, including rice.
The Deputy Prime Minister invites Yamaoka and Kurita to the talks with the Americans, who are offended when Yamaoka challenges them about the purity of their rice. Kurita arranges a second meeting where she displays her diplomatic skills and also invites Kaibara, much to Yamaoka's annoyance. Through his food and pottery, Kaibara shows the strong connection between rice and Japanese culture, but Yamaoka raises the usage of chemicals in the cultivation and post harvest transportation. He convinces the negotiators that price is not the only issue, and that both Japan and the USA must consider health and safety of the product in the trade negotiations.
- Oishinbo: Kyukyoku no Menu 3bon Syoubu (Family Computer, 1989, developed by TOSE)
- Oishinbo: DS Recipe Shuu (Nintendo DS, 2007, published by Namco Bandai Games)
North American release
The manga is licensed in English in North America by Viz Media, which published the first volume in January 2009. Seven volumes from the Oishinbo à la Carte (美味しんぼア・ラ・カルト, Oishinbo A Ra Karuto) series were published from January 2009 to January 2010. These editions are thematic compilations (and include stories from across the timeline), making the English editions effectively a best of the "best of." These volumes are:
- Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine, Vol. 1 (January 20, 2009; à la Carte volume 20) ISBN 1-4215-2139-3
- Oishinbo: Sake, Vol. 2 (March 17, 2009; à la Carte volume 26) ISBN 1-4215-2140-7
- Oishinbo: Ramen & Gyoza, Vol. 3 (May 19, 2009; à la Carte volume 2) ISBN 1-4215-2141-5
- Oishinbo: Fish, Sushi & Sashimi, Vol. 4 (July 21, 2009; à la Carte volume 5) ISBN 1-4215-2142-3
- Oishinbo: Vegetables, Vol. 5 (September 15, 2009; à la Carte volume 19) ISBN 1-4215-2143-1
- Oishinbo: The Joy of Rice, Vol. 6 (November 17, 2009; à la Carte volume 13) ISBN 1-4215-2144-X
- Oishinbo: Izakaya: Pub Food, Vol. 7 (January 19, 2010; à la Carte volume 12) ISBN 1-4215-2145-8 
In the 1980s Japan had an upsurge in popularity in the gurume movement, called the "gourmet boom." Iorie Brau, author of "Oishinbo’s Adventures in Eating: Food, Communication, and Culture in Japanese Comics," said that this was the largest factor of the increase in popularity of gurume comics. The series's first volume sold around one million copies. The popularity of Oishinbo the comic lead to the development of the anime, the live action film, and many fansites. The fan-sites chronicle recipes that appeared in the manga.
Tetsu Kariya, the writer of Oishinbo, has said in a 1986 interview that he was not a food connoisseur, and that he felt embarrassed whenever food experts read the comic.
Controversy regarding Fukushima episodes
Responding to severe criticism of Oishinbo's treatment of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, Shogakukan Inc. halted publication of Oishinbo, at least temporarily, its last appearance thus being the May 12, 2014 edition in the weekly Big Comic Spirits. Although the halt of publication coincides with the controversy, the editorial staff also claim that it is part of a previously scheduled break. Before its termination, the final chapters of Oishinbo were given credit with bringing to the forefront a franker discussion of radiation effects flowing from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
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- L. Brau, Oishinbo's Adventures in Eating: Food, Communication, and Culture in Japanese Comics, Gastronomica. The Journal of Food and Culture 4 (2004), p. 34-45, at p. 39.
- Kariya, Tetsu and Akira Hanasaki. Oishinbo à la Carte Izakaya: Pub Food. 263. Viz Media.
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- 美味しんぼ 9 [Oishinbo 9] (in Japanese). Shogakukan. 1987-03-29. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
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