Did You Know That the World’s Longest-Running Animated Series Is From Japan?

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  • What’s great about most Japanese animations is that they are committed to the concept of heartwarming tales about typical middle-class families. This is especially true with the world’s longest-running animated series, Sazae-san. From its first broadcast up to this day, it continues to entertain with its stories on how small things can bring happiness to people. Viewers seem to enjoy the new episodes of the animation being aired weekly.

    What is Sazae-san about?

    Sazae-san was originally a Japanese manga series illustrated by Machiko Hasegawa, a female manga artist from Saga Prefecture, before being adapted into an animated series in 1969. The anime is celebrating its 48th anniversary this 2017.

    The main characters in Sazae-san are Sazae Fuguta, Masuo Fuguta, and Tarao Fuguta. Sazae Fuguta is a 27-year-old unladylike woman who is always very cheerful. Unlike other Japanese women, she prefers tending to her horse rather than looking pretty in a kimono. Masuo Fuguta is Sazae’s husband who is calmer and earnest, and they have a three-year-old son named Tarao. The story also involves other families such as the Isono Family, the Isasaka Family, and the Hama Family.

    It is said that the character and family names in Sazae-san were derived from marine animals and things relating to the sea. “Sazae” means “horned turban shell,” “Masuo (masu)” means “trout,” “Isono (iso)” means “beach,” “Fuguta (fugu)” means “blowfish,” etc.

    The animation is a nostalgic representation of a traditional Japanese family.

    Sazae-san’s Popularity

    Sazae-san was awarded the Guinness World Record for being the longest-running animated series in history. Thanks to Toshiba Corporation and other sponsors who have continuously supported the show for many decades. It is said, however, that Toshiba is planning to stop sponsoring the show due to financial difficulties.

    Hasegawa Machiko Art Museum

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    If you’d like to know more about Sazae-san, you can visit the Hasegawa Machiko Art Museum in the Setagaya Ward of Tokyo. In this two-story-tall building, you’ll be able to know more about Hasegawa as an artist and her adventures in making the stories of Sazae-san. You’ll also be able to read copies of her manga which are placed on a bookshelf. Take note, however, that the museum doesn’t allow the taking of pictures inside.

    The museum is open from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Entry fee is 600 yen for adults, 500 yen for high school students, and 400 yen for junior high and elementary school children. It is important to know the museum’s schedule before visiting as it can be closed on special holidays. You may contact them at (03) 3701 8766 to double-check. Although the staff is friendly, they don’t speak English. However, their brochure is available in both English and Japanese.

    Why don’t you try watching Sazae-san while it is still on the air? It is an old Japanese way of spending quality time with your family.

    Sazae-san Website

    Hasegawa Machiko Art Museum Website

    Would you like to stay in Setagaya? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

    *Featured Image: jp.fotolia.com/