Landmark Osaka eatery set to close

Kyodo

A landmark Osaka eatery known for its giant, drum-beating minstrel doll out front said that after nearly 60 years, it is closing.

Osaka Meibutsu Kuidaore (Osaka Famous Kuidaore) restaurant, founded in 1949, faxed the media Tuesday to announce it will shut down July 8 due to difficulties in continuing the family business, as well as the aging of its building and facilities.

The eight-story restaurant serves a wide variety of food, from Japanese to Western.

The minstrel, named Kuidaore Taro, is modeled after bunraku puppets. It has delighted visitors and passersby for decades, serving as a symbol of not only the restaurant but also of Osaka’s Dotonbori district.

Following the news report, fans rushed to see the musical mannequin Wednesday.

“Just like the Statue of Liberty, the doll should be placed in a prominent location where people can admire (it) after the close of the restaurant,” said a 70-year-old man who came from Nara.

“I wonder if the doll can be displayed in a museum as a symbol of Osaka and the postwar period,” said a deputy manager of the nearby restaurant Zuboraya.

The restaurant’s late founder, Rokuro Yamada, had reportedly instructed his son and current president, Shohei Yamada, to keep the restaurant as their family business, not to open other branches and to take care of Taro, according to the restaurant.

The restaurant, capitalized at ¥24 million, has seen declining sales in recent years.