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
The cover of Oishinbo volume 102.
Big Comic Spirits|
October 1983 – present|
Anime television series|
17 October 1988 – 17 March 1992|
Anime television film|
|Oishinbo: Kyūkyoku Tai Shikō, Chōju Ryōri Taiketsu!!|
11 December 1992|
Anime television film|
|Oishinbo: Nichibei Kome Sensō|
3 December 1993|
April 13, 1996|
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, plus two sequel anime television specials.
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, which published the first volume 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 thus jumping back and forth in continuity), making the English editions effectively a "best-of of a best-of". These volumes are:
The names here are in western order (family name last). The official English language manga volumes use the Japanese naming order (family name first).
- Shirō Yamaoka (山岡 士郎 Yamaoka Shirō) Voiced by: Kazuhiko Inoue
- Shirō Yamaoka is 27-year-old protagonist of the series. He is a 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 only son of world-famous potter Yūzan Kaibara. He is a lazy person unless something concerning food where he possesses deep knowledge.
- Yūko Kurita (栗田 ゆう子 Kurita Yūko) Voiced by: Mayumi Shō
- Kurita is Yamaoka's coworker. She assists him in the "Ultimate Menu" project. She later becomes his wife. They have two children, Yōji (陽士) and Yumi (遊美).
- Yūzan Kaibara (海原 雄山 Kaibara Yūzan) Voiced by: Chikao Ōtsuka
- 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 also the founder and director of the "Gourmet Club." Kaibara is also an artist, and also the author of the "Dictionary of Poetic References." He is modeled after Kitaoji Rosanjin.
- Daizō Ōhara (大原 大蔵 Ōhara Daizō) Voiced by: Osamu Saka
- Ōhara is the publisher of the Tōzai News.
- 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 the owner and chef of Yamaoka's preferred socializing space.
- 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 coworkers. For many early volumes she romantically pursues Yamaoka. When Yamaoka realizes her intentions in the chapter "The Spirit of the Sardine," Yamaoka tells her that he is not interested in marrying her, even though if he did, 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, so he could become a male heir. The Futaki family wanted Yamaoka to marry into the family so he could become the male heir. Teruko reveals this to Yamaoka in the chapter "The Spirit of the Sardine."
- Chairman Futaki (二木会長 Futaki-kaichō)
- He is Mariko's grandfather.
- Takashi Futaki (二木 崇 Futaki Takashi)
- Teruko (輝子)
- Inspector Nakamatsu (中松警部 Nakamatsu-keibu) Voiced by: Norio Fukudome
- Tokuo Nakagawa (中川 得夫 Nakagawa Tokuo)
- He is the head chef of the "Gourmet Club."
- Fuyumi - 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) 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) is an American friend of Yamaoka and Kurita. He speaks very strange Japanese. He does not use correct grammar, and he uses archaic Japanese and does not properly use idioms.
- Haru is the wife of Ozawa. Both had been previously married, and remarried each other. Out of habit he calls her "Haru-san."
In the Japanese language, 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."
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 episode 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 fansites chronicle recipes that appeared in the comic book.
Tetsu Kariya, the writer of Oishinbo, said in a 1986 interview that he was not a food connoisseur, and that he felt embarrassed whenever food experts read the comic.
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.