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Delicious Movies: Tonkatsu, Curry,
Ramen

Tonkatsu, curry, and ramen are three of the most beloved foods among Japanese people. Tonkatsu is breaded pork cutlet, curry is stew-like thick soup served with rice, and ramen is greasy doodle soup. They are not sophisticated cuisine, but tasty and make your stomach full at an affordable price. They are usually served at casual, cozy restaurants in you neighborhood. Because of their popularity, Japanese premier movies employed eating scenes of those foods.

Tonkatsu

Legendary Director Yasujiro Ozu’s favorite was tonkatsu and he often went to Horaiya restaurant. It is still in existence as an upscale restaurant in Ueno, Tokyo, but it started from a food stall and used to be a casual restaurant. The interior similar to Horaiya was used in the set of Ozu’s 1962 film “Sanma no Aji (Taste of Saury), where Sada asked his subordinate Yoshida to marry his sister while they were eating tonkatsu.

An unforgettable scene related with tonkatsu is Director Yoji Yamada’s 1977 film “The Yellow Handkerchief.” A man who was just released from a prison enters a restaurant and orders tonkatsu, ramen, and a bottle of beer. Actor Ken Takakura played the role of the man and ate the food all at once. Director Yamada said, “Takakura didn’t eat anything for two days to portray the reality of the man, who had dreamed of eating tonkatsu and ramen in his prison time.”
Ken Takakura was such a great actor. He passed away on November 18, 2014.

Ramen

Director Juzo Itami’s 1985 film “Tampopo (dandelion)” is a story of a single mother, who runs a rundown ramen restaurant. He kept the image of “Shane” in his mind and wanted to make a film about the struggle of a single mother through a ramen restaurant. Actress, and his wife, Nobuko Miyamoto played the role of the woman. She said that Itami and she visited many ramen restaurants in the Tokyo area. The film “Tampopo” was premiered in the U.S. in 1986 and made a big hit.

Curry

Curry restaurant Jiyu-ken (freedom eave) is a vulgar restaurant in Osaka, and has been since its inception in 1910. Its curry and rice with poached egg became famous when Sakunosuke Oda wrote a novel Meoto Zenzai, a wife and husband story in 1940.
In 1955, the novel was adapted for a movie, and actor Hisaya Morishige and actress Chikage Awaji eat curry at Jiyu-ken.
In recent years, Jiyu-ken is run by Junko Yoshida. She said, “Of course, a four-star meal is delicious. But curry must be cheap and delicious. To keep the price and quality, we have to use quality ingredients and sell in quantity.”
Fans of Jiyu-ken curry make a long line at lunch time. Many foreign visitors also enjoy curry at the restaurant.


Tonkatsu served at Horaiya


Curry and rice served at Jiyu-ken restaurant


Famous curry restaurant Jiyu-ken is located near Hozenji-Yokocho in Osaka