Isn’t fried chicken available everywhere?

What’s so special about the “Sekai no Yamachan” (World’s Yamachan「世界の山ちゃん」) ? Based on what does it claim to be the “World’s”?

Could you ever imagine that it is an “imitation”?


The “copycat” fried chicken

The Sekai no Yamachan is relatively new. The founder, Shigeo Yamamoto, launched this venture in Nagoya in 1981.

As early as 1963, there is already a fried chicken restaurant, Furaibō (風來坊), which started its business in Nagoya. Furaibō is known for its fried chicken wings. It uses the tip of the chicken wings, tebasaki (手羽先) in Japanese, the part commonly used for preparation of broth. Somehow, due to limited supply, the owner of Furaibō found tebasakis and decided to purchase them at a low price (just to try his luck). After frying and adding some sauce on those chickens, they turned out fantastic – irresistible!

This was how Yamamoto got the idea of his chicken wings.

Yamamoto confessed that his fried chicken is the duplicate of Furaibō and also mentioned to the media that Furaibō was the first to use tebasaki. Yamamoto’s preparation is not exactly the same as Furaibō. Despite using tebasaki, it is impossible to produce a similar sauce like Furaibō. Instead, Yamamoto decided to sprinkle some powder on the chicken, contains mostly pepper, which makes it a bit spicy.

Yamamoto not only copied the preparation method, but also the name of his restaurant where he added “sekai” to it. When he started, it was without the word “sekai”. This happened one day when a staff of him who liked to joke greeted a customer on the phone by saying, “Hello! This is the Sekai no Yamachan!”

Yamamoto overheard the greeting. He was very excited. He decided to use the quote from his staff and changed his restaurant name to “Sekai no Yamachan”.

The “imaginary” chicken wings

One popular menu worth mentioning is the Maboroshi no tebasaki (幻の手羽先). Maboroshi implies “imaginary” or “virtual”, loosely translated as “imaginary chicken”. The following incident will explain the uniqueness of this item.

On one occasion, there was a regular customer who repeatedly ordered the tebasaki – never seemed to get enough. He then pointed to Yamamoto that those chickens were “imaginary” in a way that while he was not paying attention, they just “disappeared”. In fact, it was a matter of the speed of his consumption – they were so delicious that he ate them so quickly.

by Yusuke Kawasaki

Everyone knows the “expertise” of Yamamoto – copying the ideas from someone else. Ever since he changed his restaurant name to “Sekai no Yamachan”, while there was only one Yamachan in Nagoya, it became a big hit. Major influx of crowd. To accommodate for the demand, Yamamoto has no choice but to set up some tables temporarily outside for the customers to enjoy the food.

The growth of the business was rapid. Yamachan successfully made it to Tokyo and Osaka. If you get a chance to be in Nagoya, however, it is still a local menu which you should not miss.


Exchange of messages between Yamachan and a celebrity on Twitter

Over the past 40 years since the business inaugurated, Yamachan has been recognized as Nagoya-meshi (名古屋めし, means the Speciality of Nagoya). The footstep has never been stagnant, but accelerated. Today, it has also made its mark in Taipei, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

The Maboroshi no tebasaki also managed to capture the tastebud of a celebrity – a key member of Megadeth rock-and-roll band – Dave Mustaine who was a Grammy Award winner in 2017. On May 15 of the same year he tweeted:

Upon the reply of Yamachan side, Mustaine added the followings:

The Twitter messages were quite a news in the media, and most readers were hoping for further development. Unfortunately, Yamamoto passed away a year ago due to sickness at the age of 59 and the business was taken over by his wife and was undergoing alignment of long term strategies, no major changes expected in short term. The news of the first outlet in the US might not realize soon.

Yamachan Restaurant locations within Japan (partial list)

As at February 2018, there are 69 outlets in Japan (this covers only the Sekai no Yamachan excludes other brands within the group). Click on the outlet name below to access to the Google map.

 Nagoya
 Tokyo
 Yokohama, Osaka & Kyoto

Nagoya

– Nagoya Station Area

Nagoya-Eki Higashi Restaurant (名古屋駅東店)
Meitetsu Nagoya Station – 3 mins walk from the Central Exit (中央口). This outlet is the closest to Nagoya Station. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

Meieki Taikō Restaurant (名駅太閤店)
JR Nagoya Station – 5 mins walk from Taikō Dōri Exit (太閤通口). You could see the Shinkansen from the windows. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

– Fushimi & Nishiki Area

Nayabashi Restaurant (納屋橋店)
Nagoya Metro Fushimi Station (Higashiyama Line & Tsurumai Line) – 3 mins walk from exit 8. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

Honmaru Restaurant (本丸店)
Nagoya Metro Marunouchi Station (Tsurumai Line & Sakuradōri Line) – 1 min walk from exit 4, the closest one to Nagoya Castle. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

Kinsan Ōtsu Restaurant (錦三大津店)
Nagoya Metro Sakae Station (Higashiyama Line & Meijō Line) exit 2 or Hisaya Ōdōri Station (Meijō Line & Sakuradōri Line) exit 3, 2 mins walk from either station. The only one in Nagoya which operates until midnight. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0315h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-0015h

– Sakae & Chikusa Area

Joshidai Restaurant (女子大店)
Nagoya Metro Sakae Station (Higashiyama Line & Meijō Line) – 3 mins walk from exit 13. Smoke-free on 3rd floor. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

Chikusa Ekimae Restaurant (千種駅前店)
JR Line & Nagoya Metro Higashiyama Line Chikusa Station – 1 min walk from the exit beside the bus terminal. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

– Kanayama Area

Kanayama Nishi Restaurant (金山西店)
JR Line, Meitetsu Line & Nagoya Metro (Meijō Line & Meikō Line) Kanayama Station – 3 mins walk from the South Exit (南口). Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

Kanayama Minami Restaurant (金山南店)
JR Line, Meitetsu Line & Nagoya Metro (Meijō Line & Meikō Line) Kanayama Station – 4 mins from the South Exit (南口). Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

Tokyo

– Shinjuku Area

Seibu Shinjuku Restaurant (西武新宿店)
Seibu-Shinjuku Station – 1 min walk from the North Exit (北口). A total of 251 seats (most seatings among Yamachan), longest business hours in weekends. Mondays – Thursdays: 1700h-0015h / Fridays – Saturdays: 1700h-0400h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

Shin-Ōkubo Restaurant (新大久保店)
 JR Shin-Ōkubo Station – just half minute walk from the exit. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

– Ueno & Akihabara Area

Ueno Ameyoko Restaurant (上野アメ横店)
Toei Subway Ōedo Line Ueno-Okachimachi Station – 2 mins walk from exit A5. Non-smoking on second floor. Sundays – Thursdays: 1600h-2330h / Fridays and Saturdays: 1600h-0015h

Akihabara Shōwa-Dōri Restaurant (秋葉原昭和通り店)
Toei Metro Shinjuku Line Iwamotochō Station – 1 min walk from A4 or JR Akihabara Station – 5 mins walk from via exit of Shōwa-Dōri direction. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

– Ikebukuro Area

Ikebukuro Kitaguchi Restaurant (池袋北口店)
Ikebukuro Station – 3 mins walk from the North Exit (北口). Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

Minami Ikebukuro Restaurant (南池袋店)
Ikebukuro Station – 5 mins walk from the East Exit (東口). Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

Other cities

– Yokohama

Kannai Kitaguchi Restaurant (関内北口店)
Kannai Station – 1 min walk from the North Exit (北口). Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

– Osaka

Sennichimae Restaurant (千日前店)
Namba Station – 2 mins walk from “Namba Walk (なんばウォーク)” exit B20. Mondays – Fridays: 1700h-0015h / Saturdays: 1600h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

– Kyoto

Kawaramachi Restaurant (河原町店)
Hankyu Line Kawaramachi Station – 3 mins walk from exit 3B. Mondays – Saturdays: 1700h-0015h / Sundays and public holidays: 1700h-2315h

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