| @@Soreike! Anpanman is the second book of a best seller series of Anpanman picture books created by Yanase Takashi (1919- ). Copies of this series have reached more than 3,300 million in total as of 2003. It was made into a television cartoon series and enjoyed a great success which produced various kinds of character goods. The character of Anpanman is the main factor of its popularity.
Anpanman is anpan (a bun filled with sweet-bean paste) come to life. When he finds a crying little monkey he rushes to it and lets it eat his face. gWhenever you are unbearably hungry, call my name.h Later he is swallowed by a monster in a lake, but the monster spits him out because he is too sweet. Anpanman flies over the sky and falls on a bakery where Uncle Jam is working. Uncle Jam reproduces his face for him.
The first picture book of Anpanman appeared in the November 1973 issue of Kindâ Ohanashi Ehon [Kinder Story Picture Book], a monthly picture book subscribed by kindergartens and nursery schools. Anpanman was created from Yanasefs experience of postwar food shortages and his hope for liberation from hunger. The story is based on his idea that justice can never be achieved without self-sacrifice. An early image of Anpanman was different from the present one. He was wearing a ragged cloak, and offered his face to the hungry. Anpanman represented Yanasefs ideal hero.
Although the impression of the first book was not good, it became very popular among kindergartens and nursery schools, which led to the publication of a sequel in 1975, which is Soreike! Anpanman. The Anpanman book became a series and characters such as Meanyman and Currypanman were created one after another. Its popularity increased around 1980.
In 1988 the Anpanman series was made into a television cartoon, which reinforced the Anpanman boom. Various kinds of picture books were published. The series was adapted into all sorts of media including animation film, manga, CDs, DVDs, Videos, and kamishibai (picture-story show). Anpanman is still very popular today.