The life of the man behind Japan’s most treasured ramen…
The popular, heartwarming documentary comes to the big screen!!
People wait in line for over two hours for just one bowl of ramen…
The legendary ramen shop “East Ikebukuro Taishoken.”
Proprietor, Kazuo Yamagishi, has tended this shop for 50 years.
Why makes his ramen so special?
Why is Taishoken beloved by so many?
The story is not only about his pursuit of the perfect blend of flavors. It’s about his life, love and the strong bond he shares with the people he believes in.
Fuji TV’s “The Nonfiction” 3 episode documentary that fascinated viewers and won the Silver Screen Award at the US International Film & Video Festival is being adapted to film.
Compiled from over ten years of documentary footage, the film incorporates beautiful scenery from Yamagishi’s hometown in Nagano and is enhanced by the “savory” narration of noted ramen lover Shosuke Tanihara, and the beautiful ending theme song written by Joe Hisaishi. It captures both the light and dark sides of the life of the celebrated ramen chef Kazuo Yamagishi to reveal a uniquely moving story.
Witness the revival of Japanfs most treasured ramen made by the ggod of ramenh on the big screen!
This story isn’t about ramen.
It’s the true story of a man who nourished people’s souls. A way of life called “Taishoken.”
The story begins in Yamanouchi Town in the Shiga Highlands, northern Nagano Prefecture.
The origins of Kazuo Yamagishi, “the god of ramen.”
“East Ikebukuro Taishoken” is known for its endless lines.
In 2001, cameras were allowed into an establishment that boasted 50 years of history.
The modest shop in the back of an alley was buzzing with activity -- with customers waiting in line, regulars who came to eat and help out on a daily basis and apprentices crammed into the tiny kitchen. The apprentices aren’t there just to learn the secret of his ramen. Without exception, they agree the main reason people flock to Taishoken is “the boss.” They’re all drawn to his unique personality.
Touted as a legend and adored by its fans, East Ikebukuro Taishoken seemed to be free of worries.
But deep within Kazuo Yamagishi’s heart lay a darkness that could not escape the camera.
It revealed truths that Yamagishi had kept hidden for years. He was carrying a heavy physical and emotional burden. He had locked up memories of his wife and childhood friend, who supported him for 25 of the 50 years he had dedicated to ramen. He suffered from a series of debilitating medical issues that slowly eroded his ability to work. What drove him to go on making ramen…?
Born 1934 in Nagano Prefecture
Dedicated his life to ramen at the age of 17.
Yamagishi created a special dish called “morisoba” (mountain of noodles) in 1995, which is considered the origin of the now hugely popular “tsukemen” or dipping noodles. He opened Taishoken in East Ikebukuro in 1961 and became famous as the owner of the ramen shop that people lined up for. Taishoken closed temporarily in 1986 upon the death of his beloved wife Fumiko, but reopened in 1987 due to popular demand. Yamagishi continued serving the same recipe of ramen until its closure in 2007 due to the redevelopment of East Ikebukuro.
Yamagishi is currently enjoying a peaceful retirement in the East Ikebukuro neighborhood.
He has mentored hundreds of apprentices spanning two generations that have opened their own ramen shops across Japan.
Yamagishi is regarded by his competitors and countless fans as “the god of ramen.”
Born July 8, 1972 in Kanagawa Prefecture
Enjoys cooking, playing golf, surfing, collecting watches and listening to music.
Tanihara became an actor after modeling for “Men’s Non-no” magazine. While leveraging his good looks, Tanihara has also gained popularity in the acting world, taking on a variety of roles and delivering solid performances in TV dramas and films.
His polished presence also makes him a popular choice as host of TV documentary programs. He continues to broaden his experience, and has recently taken on narrations and voice acting. Well known for his love of ramen, Tanihara is a huge fan of Taishoken’s dipping noodles.
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-Comment from Shosuke Tanihara
“For us ramen fans, East Ikebukuro Taishoken is a legend. To narrate a documentary about Mr. Yamagishi, known to all as the “god of ramen” is truly an honor. I hope to communicate the passion of the original Taishoken, one of the first restaurants that people lined up for. I also want to convey the warmth of Mr. Yamagishi’s personality, which is even warmer than his ramen. I promise you’ll be dying to eat a bowl of ramen after seeing this film.
Director: Takashi Innami
Born in 1970 in Tokyo
After dropping out of the Economics Department of Nihon University, Innami gained experience in over 10 occupations including a publishing house, a theater, and a cabaret club. He joined TV Tokyo Productions at the age of 27, and became a free-lance director after leaving the company. He went on to produce “The God of Ramen” on Fuji TV’s “The Nonfiction” in 2001. Innami has also directed other documentaries, variety shows and entertainment programs and is currently producer of Media Research, Inc.
Music: Koji Takata
Born in Hiroshima. After graduating from the Music Department of Osaka University of Art, Takata also completed a course in musical engineering. He made his Victor Entertainment debut in 2003 with his music group Vitarise. Takata currently produces music for TV and other media, and composes theme songs for various sports and news programs including Fuji TV’s “F1 Grand Prix ~ Truth~ RESONANCE-T MIX” “FNN Super News” NHK’s “Kaigai (Overseas) Network”, “BS Rettou News” etc. His prolific musical compositions range from pops to modern music.
Ending Theme Song: Joe Hisaishi
Born December 6, 1950 in Nakano City, Nagano Prefecture
While at Kunitachi College of Music, Hisaishi took an interest in minimal music, and embarked on his career as a modern music composer. After composing the score for Hayao Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” in 1984, Hisaishi composed the music for nine of the famous anime director’s films including “My Neighbor Totoro.” He has also composed music for noted directors Takeshi Kitano, Yojiro Takita and Sang-il Lee, and has won numerous awards at the Japan Academy Awards. Critically acclaimed both in Japan and abroad, Hisaishi has also produced music for international films such as the Korean film “Welcome to Dongmakgol” and the Chinese film “The Postmodern Life of My Aunt.” Both won Best Music Awards in their respective countries. Hisaishi was awarded the prestigious Purple Ribbon Medal of Honor (granted by the Japanese Government to People of Cultural Merit), is a visiting professor at the Kunitachi College of Music, and considered one of Japan’s preeminent composers.
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Release Date : June 8, 2013
Official Website : http://ramen-eiga.jp/
Running Time : 90 minutes
©2013 Fuji Television Network