Restaurant In Japan Hired Monkeys As Waiters They Wait Tables To Help The Owner & Get Paid In Bananas!

Restaurant In Japan Hired Monkeys As Waiters | They Wait Tables To Help The Owner & Get Paid In Bananas!

Imagine stepping into a traditional Japanese tavern, expecting a typical dining experience, but instead, you’re greeted by… monkeys. Yes, you read that right! The Kayabukiya Tavern, nestled north of Tokyo, became a worldwide sensation for its unique approach to customer service. They employed two Japanese macaque monkeys, Yat-chan and Fuku-chan, as part of their waitstaff. These adorable monkeys also get paid, but not in money but with Bananas! Let’s have a look at how they came to be the employees of the restaurant and how they help its owners. 

Monkeys Dressed In Cute Outfits Wait The Tables! 

Yat-chan, the elder of the pair at twelve years old, is a crowd-pleaser known for his skill in taking drink orders. Fuku-chan assists diners by offering hot towels, a customary practice in Japan for cleaning hands before meals. The idea was born out of necessity and innovation. The tavern owner Kaoru Otsuka, initially kept the monkeys as pets. Later he discovered their potential to assist in the tavern. 

Certified by local authorities and beloved by customers who tip them with soya beans, Yat-chan and Fuku-chan are not just waiters but stars in their own right. Customers adore their efficiency, often noting that these monkeys outperform their human counterparts in the waitstaff world.

Restaurant In Japan Hired Monkeys As Waiters
Image source: Daily Mail

Is It Ethical To Have Them Work?

Employing monkeys in a service role may raise eyebrows, but it’s a practice deeply rooted in Japan’s history and cultural perspectives on animals working alongside humans. The tavern adheres strictly to animal welfare standards. Yat-chan and Fuku-chan’s working shifts were no more than two hours a day. The owner ensured that they were treated with the utmost care and respect. 

Current Status Of The Restaurant & The Monkey Waiters

Unfortunately, the Kayabukiya Tavern faced challenges following the devastating 3/11 earthquake and tsunami. It is now abandoned. However, the story of Yat-chan and Fuku-chan continues to fascinate. The story of the tavern was even documented in a 2014 movie by artist Pierre Huyghe. Yat-chan and Fuku-chan still live with their original owner according to sources. While the tavern’s future remains uncertain, the legacy of its monkey waiters raises intriguing questions about the potential for similar practices elsewhere, balancing novelty with ethical considerations.

Image source: ARM news 365


Kayabukiya Tavern’s story is a remarkable testament to the blending of traditional Japanese hospitality with innovative employment practices. Yat-chan and Fuku-chan have become symbols of this intersection. They offer a unique dining experience while challenging our perceptions of the roles animals can play in human environments. As we reflect on their story, it’s clear they’ve become much more than employees—they are a vital part of the tavern’s identity and a fascinating chapter in the broader narrative of tradition and innovation in Japan.

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