In the middle of Japan’s busiest train station, Yo-Kai Express debuted its third ramen robot in Japan in three weeks. The new Tokyo Station robot joins other Yo-Kai Express machines installed at Haneda Airport and the Shibaura Parking Area.
If you think the unveiling of a new food robot might slip under the radar in this ramen-obsessed country, you’d be wrong. At a press conference held yesterday by Yo-Kai to unveil their latest robot and discuss their entry into Japan, over 70 members of the Japanese media showed up. The result was at least a dozen articles and news reports across broadcast and print.
The interest in Yo-Kai is understandable. After all, Japan is well-recognized as a mecca for vending machines, and here’s a new robot that makes the country’s favorite food in 90 seconds. In a few years, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Yo-Kai machines sprinkled around Tokyo and other Japanese cities to serve up hot bowls to those too busy to sit down in a local slurp shop.
While some ramen shop operators might be upset by the entry of a ramen-making robot, others see it as an exciting new opportunity, including the founder of the most popular ramen joint in Japan, Ippudo.
“A vending machine cooks hot ramen on the spot,” said Shigemi Kawahara, President, and Founder of Ippudo. “It’s exciting, isn’t it?”
Of course, Kawahara has reason to be excited. Ippudo’s Tonkotsu Ramen will soon be added to Yo-Kai’s menu.
Photo credit: Hitoshi Hokamura