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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 21:38 GMT
Space-age funeral for 'Mr Noodle'
Momofuku Ando
Thirty-four monks officiated at Osaka's Kyocera Dome
The late inventor of instant noodles was symbolically blasted off into space at a funeral ceremony attended by thousands in Osaka, western Japan.

The event was a tribute to Momofuku Ando's creation of Space Ram, a noodle soup that works at zero gravity.

Mr Ando, who died in January aged 96, created the instant noodle in 1958 and worked hard on the vacuum pack that was taken into space in 2005.

His Nissin Food Products has annual sales of 300bn yen ($2.5bn).

Tuesday's ceremony attracted 6,500 people to Osaka's Kyocera Dome baseball stadium. Thirty-four monks officiated and stars adorned the walls.

Delivering a eulogy, ex-prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone said: "He was the creator of a culinary culture that post-war Japan can be proud of."

Fellow former premier Junichiro Koizumi also attended.

Japanese astronaut, Soichi Noguchi, in a video message from the US, recalled the noodles that he took into space on the Discovery shuttle.

Cup Noodle

The man dubbed 'Mr Noodle' has been honoured by Thailand, Brazil and the US city of Los Angeles.

He was born in Taiwan in 1910 and moved to Japan in 1933, founding Nissin Food Products after World War II to provide cheap food for the masses.

His most famous product, Cup Noodle, was released in 1971, with the masterstroke of providing a waterproof polystyrene container.

In 1999, Mr Ando opened a museum in Osaka devoted to instant noodles.

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