Nissin: The History of Instant Noodles | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Nissin: The History of Instant Noodles

By Guidable Writers Aug 16, 2016

Instant noodles or cup noodles (It is more common name in Japan) were invented by a Japanese businessman Momofuku Ando who founded Japanese food company Nissin in 1950s.

Ando was brought up in Taiwan (He is actually a Japanese-Taiwan) and he lost his parents when he was a child. He was raised by his grandparents who owned a textile store in Tinan city, and Ando founded his first own textile company when he was 22.

Ando also moved to Japan and became a Japanese citizen, then he started his businesses in Japan after WWⅡ. However, he experienced many hardships, for example, he was arrested and got in prisoned because of tax evasion before founding Nissin Foods in Japan.


At the end of WWⅡ, many Japanese were suffering from a severe shortage of food and Japan relied on food aid, mainly breads by the U.S. Ando wanted to encourage using more noodles rather than breads by the U.S food aid for Japanese because he thought noodles contains much more nutrition than breads by the food aid. His idea of the first invention of instant noodles came from these experiences.

In 1958, Ando finally succeeded to invent the first instant noodles in the world after many trials and errors. At first, instant noodles were only invented for using Donburi (It means a bowl in English) and hot water. However, Ando realized many European and American countries not have the custom of using bowls when they have meals, so he decided to use Styrofoam food container, looks like a cup instead of using bowls. This is the reason why the instant noodles have been also called cup noodles.


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Today, instant noodles have been sold in many countries and many varieties of flavors have been also introduced. In addition, cup noodles have often used for food aid in many developed countries. Probably, Ando had never imagined his own invention is going to help not only Japanese but also many people in the world after his death.