The enigmatic Takeru Kobayashi | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

takeru kobayashi
PHOTO from Jakarta Post/DON
takeru kobayashi
PHOTO from Jakarta Post/DON

Speed eating world champion Takeru Kobayashi can wallop up 11 hamburgers in three minutes.


Takeru Kobayashi currently holds several Guinness World Records for speed eating.

His titles include the record for eating 11 hamburgers in three minutes; finishing a 12-inch pizza in one minute and 9.36 seconds; eating 14 Twinkies in one minute; eating 100 grams of spaghetti in 45 seconds; and 29 meatballs in one minute.

Other outstanding world records that Kobayashi currently holds include eating 93 hamburgers in eight minutes, eating 5.4 kilograms of chicken satay in 12 minutes and finishing 60 sausages in two minutes and 35 seconds.

Kobayashi’s ability to break numerous speed eating world records has earned him the nickname “The Tsunami” because the way he finishes up platters of food is considered by many to be similar to the way tsunamis sweep away seaside ports and cities.

Yet despite Kobayashi’s massive appetite and velocity in gobbling up food, he appears slim and lean with a 173-centimeter, 58-kilogram frame.

Making him even more enigmatic is the fact that Kobayashi has a ripped muscular body with a six-pack of abs despite his professional career as a speed eater.

When in Jakarta recently, Kobayashi, who was born in the Japanese town of Nagano on March 15, 1978, said that he managed to keep fit using a strict workout and diet routine whenever he was not preparing for a competition.

“In my daily life, I eat three times a day like normal people and I also work out regularly. I run daily and I also do weight training such as bench presses and squats,” he said.

He said that he has been doing the fitness routine since he was a teenager.

“Maybe this is why I also have a faster metabolism than most people when it comes to digesting massive amounts of food,” he said.

“Actually I can eat more food if I want to in my daily life but I always try to maintain my diet portions in line with what most people eat daily on average to keep my body fit.”

Kobayashi has shown a talent for eating since he was little.

When he was still at school, he showed potential for becoming a dominator in world speed eating competitions by drinking 10 bottles of milk to win a local competition for students.

At that time, however, Kobayashi did not know his incredible appetite and eating speed could become a career path through which he could make a living.

He first learned about the career potential in speed eating when he was 23. At that time, Kobayashi was a university student and participated in a rice and curry eating contest just for fun.

During his speed eating debut, he managed to become a champion by finishing 5.1 kilograms of rice and curry or equal to 17 portions in only 20 minutes.

“My friends then signed me up for a televised speed eating competition. I won the first prize again and since then, I realised that my talent can be a very profitable profession,” he said.

The largest prize that Kobayashi has won in a Japanese-based speed eating contest stands at 10 million yen (US$82,587.6). His biggest annual income from speed eating competitions in Japan was 30 million yen recorded in 2001.

After having problems finding worthy opponents in Japan, Kobayashi took part in numerous speed eating competitions on the global stage, from Turkey, New York and Chicago to Milan.

When Kobayashi first set out for the international stage, he was considered by many as an underdog due to his slim frame. Then again, he managed to become number one in numerous international competitions.

During Kobayashi’s global venture in speed eating competitions, he also introduced to the world his patented speed eating technique called “The Kobayashi Shake” — in which he shakes and spins his belly hard in different directions.

“When you shake your belly, you will push the food faster into your gastric system. This will allow you to put more food into your mouth faster,” he said.

Kobayashi is so dominating among human competitors that at one point in his career, he challenged a bear to a sausage eating competition. He lost but put up a good fight against the bear.

His success on the global scale has, in a way, changed people’s views on speed eating competitions and its contestants.

Before Kobayashi, most thought of speed eating as an unhealthy activity and its competitors as a bunch of fat and unfit men and women.

But after looking at Kobayashi’s ability to maintain his fitness, many people have started to show more respect for speed eating competitions and it is now slowly gaining recognition as a sport.

Kobayashi even secured an endorsement deal with sports gear manufacturer Nike following his international success as a speed eater.

He said he had no plans to stop dominating the world’s speed eating scene.

He also expects more competitors to emerge and, for those wanting to become professional speed eaters and earning a good living like he does, he has several pieces of advice.

“First of all, the biggest mistake for a beginner in speed eating is to think they need to start practicing by eating as much as they can on a daily basis. This is wrong because it will only make you sick,” he said.

“A great speed eater practices not by increasing their daily food intake but by expanding their gastric capacity. For this, what they need to focus on is on how to drink a lot of water. I always increase my water intake whenever I am preparing myself for a competition. In 90 seconds, I can finish up 12 liters of water.”



Hotdog eating champ proposes to Fil-Am girlfriend

Kobayashi eats record 337 chicken wings




Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.