| Soreike Zukkoke Sanningumi is the first book of a popular series of modern children’s literature written by Nasu Masamoto (1942- ). The humorous book is greatly admired by children.|
The first book is a collection of serial short stories. The main characters are: Hakase (doctor) who is knowledgeable and diligent but bad at tests; naughty and mischievous Hachibê; and calm and gentle Mô-chan. In the first story, when Hakase is studying in the toilet at home, two thieves appeared. Although they do not notice him, he cannot come out of the toilet nor let out a shout. Hachibê and Mô-chan happen to pass by Hakase’s house and notice a long piece of white paper slowly coming down from a window. Hakase has written a message for help on the roll of toilet paper. However, it contained too many difficult kanji (Chinese characters) that they cannot read. The tale ends happily after a great fuss. In the last story, Hachibê and Hakase help Mô-chan who participates in a popular quiz program. They tell the answer secretly to Mô-chan by a transceiver invented by Hakase. So far Mô-chan is doing very good but when their class teacher finds out it is all over for them. Mô-chan makes a mistake in the last quiz as expected. However, it turns out that in fact the transceiver had not worked and Mô-chan answered the quiz all by himself. “It’s okay because we did our best, though we were a bit funny at the end.” This is how the Funny Trio came to be.
The story is clear and humorous and develops rhythmically. The original idea was first serialized in the magazine Rokunen no Gakushu [Sixth Grader’s Study] in 1976 under the title of Zukkoke Sanjushi [The Three Funny Musketeers]. Illustrations by Maekawa Kazuo, who also illustrated the serialization, match the text perfectly.
The characters are all cheerful and problems are all invariably settled, so that readers can safely enjoy the world of the story, which is why it is supported by readers. In 2004, the series reached 50 volumes and was completed. It is true that it has been panned by some reviewers as a work relying too much on entertainment. However, the fact that the series has lasted so long and that the total number of the copies published exceeds 21 million proves the greatness of its appeal.
Nasu received the Iwaya Sazanami Award for the series and the Noma Award for Juvenile Lietrature for Zukkoke Sanningumi no Bakku tû za Fûchâ [Funny Trio’s Back to the Future] in 2000. The series has been made into a television drama many times since 1985. It was made into a movie in 1991 and in 1998, and into serial manga in 2003. It was also made into animation in 2004.