One of the things which food in Japan is famous/notorious for is the wide range of foods that have mayonnaise all over them. Yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, karaage (fried chicken), gyuudon (beef bowl), and pizzas are among the “common” dishes that can be found with covered with mayonnaise but it seems that the possibilities are endless!


Introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, mayonnaise has become one of the indispensable condiments in kitchens all over Japan. Kewpie is the most famous brand of mayonnaise in Japan, recognizable by it’s sweet “umami” taste that comes from using whole eggs, apple vinegar, and MSG. Despite the stigma it may have in other countries, MSG is used in a lot of foods in Japan. The word for it, aji no moto (味の素) , is the name of a popular food company. Kewpie’s popularity is so great that they set up Kewpie Terrace in western Tokyo for anyone who wants to learn more about their favorite white sauce. Akari Yamada (Yumemiru Adolescence), who is pictured at the top of the article, even sings about mayonnaise in her song “Piyo Piyo Aka-Chamu Sando”!


“Mayora”, the Japanese word made up to describe someone addicted to mayonnaise, comes from combining “mayo” with the suffix “-er” (as in runner, player, etc), essentially meaning that they are a “mayonnaiser”. Similar to how other cultures have an affinity for spicy sauces, mayonnaise is beloved in Japan to the extent that there are over 200,000 recipes available if you search for “mayonnaise” on Cook Pad. There was even a restaurant Mayo Kitchen in Tokyo that featured a menu where everything included mayonnaise! One of the most famous mayora is Toshiro Hijikata from Gintama. He piles it so high that it’s impossible to see what’s underneath it all!

In the commercial and making of video for instant yakisoba starring actress Suzu Hirose above, you can see one example of just how seriously mayonnaise is taken in Japan. Of course, you can also draw some innapropriate connotations, especially from the line “It all came out!”(全部でたとー!?, “Zenbu deta-to!?”), which drew a few complaints when it first aired.


It’s difficult to say exactly why mayonnaise is so popular in Japan but, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by its ubiquity, especially with the cavalier way that it seems to end up on or in just about anything and everything. While you don’t have to put it on everything, as Rocket News found out when trying it on melon like Erika Toda’s character in “SPEC – Shou”, sometimes things taste better than expected?


Tokyo Girls' Update

By - grape Japan editorial staff.