What is Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き, o-konomi-yaki) is a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients in a wheat-flour-based batter; it is an example of konamono (konamon in Kansai dialect, referring to flour-based Japanese cuisine). The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “how you like” or “what you like”, and yaki meaning “cooked” (usually fried). Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region. In Tokyo, there is a semi-liquid okonomiyaki called monjayaki.
Food researcher Tekishū Motoyama has pointed out that a sort of thin crepe-like confection called funoyaki (麩の焼き) may be an early precursor, though it hardly includes the bare elements that makes it identifiable as okonomiyaki. Records of the word funoyaki occur as far back as the 16th century, and Sen no Rikyū writes about it, but what it really was can only be speculated, and may have involved the use of fu (wheat gluten), though certainly by the late Edo period, funoyaki referred to a thin crepe baked on a cooking pot, with miso basted on one side.
This, Motoyama writes, was modified into a form using nerian (練り餡) (sweet bean paste) and came to be called gintsuba (銀つば) in Kyoto and Osaka, then moved to Edo (Tokyo) where it was named kintsuba
In the Meiji Era, the confection was taken up by the dagashiya (駄菓子屋, “informal confection shop”) trade, which called it mojiyaki (文字焼き). After the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake when people lacked amenities it became sort of a pastime to cook these crepes. This fad gained great popularity, and soon, besides the sweet types, savory types using fish, vegetables, and various meat began appearing.
A simpler version of okonomiyaki, made with readily available ingredients, became popular in Japan during World War II when there was a short supply of rice. The wheat pancake was nutritious, filling, and inexpensive and was often served as a snack to children.
cited from wikipedia