Takoyaki's Origin and Current Culture in Japan
Takoyaki originated in the Kansai (western) region of Japan in the 1930s. However, its roots go far back to the 1600s when French cuisine was first introduced to Japan. Different variations of battered foods became popular in Osaka and Tokyo at the time.
Though Japan is known for having rice as a staple part of the people's diet, two major events in Japanese history brought an increase in the use of simple flour and water. The Tokyo earthquake in 1923 left the area short of food. In an effort to make cheap, yet filling food, the Japanese began experimenting with flour and water to make various dishes. It sufficed for the time being with minimal popularity.
After a few decades in the aftermath of World War II, wheat flour was sent to Japan as relief from the United States. It was then that even more kinds of food were created and once again they gained popularity but on an even greater scale.
Endo Tomekichi, a street vender in Osaka, is the man credited with the creation of takoyaki. Octopus was plentiful where he lived and he decided to use the sea creature in a battered dish in 1935. The product was a success, and though it was appreciated all over Japan, Osaka is still famed for the octopus balls. One can find takoyaki paraphernalia such as cell phone straps and USB devices. Osaka's Universal Studios is even home to a popular Takoyaki Museum(Japanese site).
Takoyaki is usually eaten during festivals and in the summer. Although takoyaki vendors and small shops are popular, many people also make the dish at home. There are two primary ways to cook takoyaki at home. Some people use a pan that resembles a muffin tray called a takoyakiki that is put over a stovetop. Another option is an electric cooker.