TOKYO (AFP) - A
slender 26-year-old from Japan who is the
undefeated champion in hot-dog eating competitions
has broadened his repertoire, wowing an American
crowd by munching 69 hamburgers in eight minutes.
Takeru Kobayashi, who
has made a full-time career out of his unusual
talent and become a celebrity in Japan, took home
10,000 dollars after stuffing himself at the
contest in Chattanooga, Tennessee, media reports
without a doubt, the greatest eater ever to live
upon planet Earth," said David Baer of the
International Federation of Competitive Eating.
Second-place went to
Sonya Thomas, a Virginia woman who in the allotted
eight minutes Saturday could eat a mere 46 of the
miniature square burgers cooked up by Krystal, a
fast-food chain in the US south.
triumphed four years straight at the July 4
hot-dog contest in New York City, this year
breaking his previous record by swallowing 53 and
a half frankfurters.
Weighing only 60
kilograms, Kobayashi has astonished gluttons more
inclined to binge-eating. The Japanese man says he
has mastered a technique to win by snapping food
in two and shoving both parts in his mouth.
Kobayashi also holds
records for eating cow brains — eight kilos in 15
minutes — and traditional Japanese rice balls at
nine kilos in half an hour.
The Japanese tend to
be more moderate eaters but, thanks in part to
Kobayashi, competitive eating has become a
television sensation with "food fighters" downing
everything from sushi to cakes.
But the television
began to shy away from such contests after a
14-year old junior high school student choked to
death in 2002 trying to imitate competitive eating
during school lunch.
warnings from authorities about the danger, such
contests remain popular at local festivals in
On November 6, a
38-year-old woman choked to death after gorging on
bread and barley noodles at a local fall festival.