Toyama Black Ramen’s General Found in 3cm-deep Canal, Family Reveals True Cause of Death | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Toyama Black Ramen’s General Found in 3cm-deep Canal, Family Reveals True Cause of Death

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On the morning of March 14, Shoji Asano, 70, owner of Shoryu, a famous restaurant serving the popular local ramen “Toyama Black,” was found dead. Mr. Asano had been missing since the night of March 13, and in the morning of the next day, the police found him lying on his side in an irrigation channel not far from the restaurant, where the water was only 3.5 cm deep.

The irrigation channel where the accident took place. It is difficult to notice the existence of the canal when it is dark.

Shoryu” has been a favorite of local residents for 30 years. Even when the restaurant was about to close at midnight, the parking lot was almost full, and many fans from far away visited the restaurant. The death of the restaurant’s owner came as a great shock. Even after Mr. Asano’s sudden death, the restaurant continues to be operated by the staff. Chieko, Mr. Asano’s wife and the proprietress of Shoryu, said, “Around midnight on the 14th, Mr. Asano died.

Around midnight on the 14th, I noticed that my father was missing and called him on his cell phone, but it rang next to his bed at home and he seemed to have left his phone at home for the rest of the day. Around 1:00 a.m. I submitted a missing persons report to the police and they searched the house. The next morning, I got a call from the police and went to the police station to find my dad in a plastic bag. The police told me, ‘We don’t know if it was an incident or an accident or what caused the death, and since he died outside and there were no cameras there, we would like to do a judicial autopsy to determine the cause of death. Please lend us your husband for a day.

Because he was the owner of a popular restaurant, many people came to the funeral.

As a result of the autopsy, the cause of death was revealed. Mr. Asano left the store on his bicycle around 6:40 p.m. when it began to get dark around him. He entered a back road just wide enough for his bicycle to pass, rode up on a snow-melting pipe, fell, and hit his head hard on the corner of an irrigation ditch, resulting in a partially caved-in skull and a cervical vertebra fracture. His wife, Chieko, recalls the day.

If I had come home even a minute earlier, it would have been brighter outside and the accident would not have happened. I could have come home normally, said I was home, and hugged my grandchildren. …… The road we were found on wasn’t the road we always took. It was very cold that day, so he must have tried to take a shortcut. It’s really sad, but the fact that he died instantly means he didn’t have a hard time, so that’s the only thing I’m relieved about.”

His daughter, Maiko, recalls her memories of her father.

My father always said, ‘Ramen is just ramen. That’s why he said it was his role to create a restaurant where people could always eat well, quickly, and inexpensively. Even after my father passed away, everyone worked hard to make …… the best it could be. I think that is what he really wanted to do. He must be really happy to have so many customers like this.

After the owner’s sudden death, the restaurant took four days off before continuing business.

Shoichi Sakui, who has worked at Shoryu for more than 20 years, went to the scene of the accident to identify Mr. Asano. When he confirmed that the body was Mr. Asano, he broke down in tears.

He said, “If I had to say something to the master, I would say …… thank you, that’s all I have to say. I have no choice but to continue as before. I will never blink, because Master was the same way.”

According to the Toyama Prefectural Government, there were 11 fatal accidents caused by falls in agricultural canals in the 10 months from April last year to February this year, and 197 in the past 9 years from ’11 to ’20.

It was an irrigation ditch that instantly took the life of the owner, who was loved by his family, employees, and local ramen lovers. Immediate countermeasures are required.

Shoryu, who is no stranger to the local community.
The bicycle that Mr. Asano used to ride
  • Interviews and photos Junpei Kota and Hiroki Tagawa (Funeral photos courtesy of the funeral)

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