After losing its giant fugu blowfish, people are now worried about the health of the city’s big crustacean. 

Just last month, the landscape of Osaka’s Shinsekai entertainment district was forever changed when the iconic fugu pufferfish that swayed above people’s heads outside 100-year-old fugu restaurant Zuboraya was taken away.

Now, another icon of the city is looking worse for wear, this time outside the head branch of the Kani Doraku crab restaurant chain in Dotonbori. This is where a giant crab resides, sitting flush against the front of the building above the restaurant entrance, slowly moving its legs back and forth, attracting the attention of passersby.

▼ This video shows the crab in action above the bustling Dotonbori district.

In business since 1962, Dotonbori’s Kani Doraku is one of Osaka’s most famous longstanding restaurants, and its giant crab has become a well-known symbol of the chain, clinging to the facade at locations in Shizuoka, and the Kansai, Kanto, Chugoku and Shikoku regions.

Dotonbori’s crab is the largest and most famous, however, and it’s also the longest-serving, as its been moving without a break for 24 years. So when the crab stopped moving for maintenance on 20 October for the first time since last century, it made national headlines.

Store manager Yasumi Kobayashi says regular maintenance used to be performed on the crab once every two months, but it’s been 24 years since things like lubrication and screws were checked so the crab must now undergo “a large-scale operation”. 

▼ Part of this operation involves removing two of the crab’s legs, which has created a startling sight.

Kani Doraku’s sense of humour could be seen on the red-and-white sign posted to the crab with missing legs, which read:

“Oops – snapped off due to exhaustion from continuous service?” 

People around the country loved the approach being taken by the restaurant in announcing the crustacean’s “operation”, and took the opportunity to wish the crab well.

“Now that we don’t have our beloved blowfish anymore we need you to stay healthy!”
“Get well and come back soon!”
“This is why I love Osaka – great humour, even in dark times.”

“Saying the crab is fatigued from working so long makes me feel such affection for it!”
“This is the type of news I needed to hear today — thank you for looking after our famous crab!”

According to the restaurant, the crab’s operation will take several days, with plans for the repaired legs to be reattached at midnight just before the opening of business on 24 October.

The current crab is the restaurant’s third-generation crustacean and has been watching over the area since 1996 as a symbol of Osaka. Like many nearby restaurants, Kani Doraku has been doing it tough with shortened business hours due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the return of the crab is being welcomed as a hopeful sign of better times ahead for the neighbourhood.

With the pandemic already wiping out Zuboraya and its giant pufferfish permanently, here’s hoping the big crab is able to survive and live on for decades to come, because we all need a bit of good news to keep us going during these hard times.

Source: Yahoo! Japan
Top image: Wikipedia/STRONGlk7 (edited by SoraNews24)
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