More than a century ago, an unusual eatery serving zenzai (sweet red bean soup) opened within the grounds of Hozenji Temple. Jubei Kimonji, chief actor in Japanese bunraku puppet theater with the stage name of Kindayu Takemoto, first named the eatery "Ofuku," meaning "Good fortune" What was unusual about this eatery was that he divided a single portion of zenzai into two bowls. People would say, "Hey, this is different! Why are there two of them?" Hearing this, his wife Koto and daughter Kame, who actually ran the restaurant, laughed and answered, "Thank you. These bowls are husband and wife" They did it because they thought dividing the food into two bowls would make it appear there was a lot inside, but it turned out to be a big hit. Later this idea led to Meotozenzai (Meoto means "husband and wife").
In 1940, Sakunosuke Oda published the novel "Meotozenzai"
Oda was then a popular writer from the west of Japan, rivaling Osamu Dazai from the east.
The story goes as follows: Choko is a firm and steadfast geisha while her husband Ryukichi is the weak-willed, prodigal son of a rich middleman. They try to run a razor shop, Kanto-style food shop, fruit shop, and cafe one after another but all in vain.
At last Ryukichi disappears, leaving her alone. One day, however, he unexpectedly returns and takes Choko out, saying he wants to eat something good. They visit the Hozenji Temple area, and turning from the Dotonbori alley into Sennichimae, they come across the lantern sign of the "Moeto Zenzai" eatery.
Seeing that each person is served two bowls of zenzai.
Choko says, "So you're trying to say that being in a couple is better than being single"
The novel was made into a movie of the same name, which also turned out to be a big hit.