A 5 year-old, his family and kindergarten…this can only be a story for kids, right? Wrong! This Japanese cartoon is about a mischievous behaving little brat who entertains constantly by driving his parents crazy, cursing or using sexual humour. But even though the content is slightly questionable, this manga is targeting a broad audience.
First published in 1990 the series has now increased to 40 volumes. The manga became so popular that soon after that an anime series was produced. Only two years after the series premiered on Japanese TV, both manga and anime have been translated into many languages. More than two dozen video games and even four smartphone games were released.
The story develops around the main character, Shinnosuke Nohara, and his everyday life at home, at the kindergarten and with his friends. Shin-chan, as he is usually called, is always getting himself in trouble, has a very curious personality and does not feel any shame. The typically horrible son a mother would never want to have! But that does not stop the reader from enjoying the adventures he gets himself into.
His mother, Misae Nohara, a house-wife, is trying her best to raise her son and daughter (later in the story she gets pregnant and gives birth to Shin-chan’s sister), but occasionally she gives up or is lost when it comes to disciplining her son.
Shin-chan’s father, Hiroshi Nohara, is a typical salarymen, devoted to his family and works hard in the office, some nights being out with colleagues drinking while spending the weekends relaxing at home.
The charming points about the manga are that they show a very typical Japanese life at home, where the mother is taking care of the house whereas the father is working hard outside. Shin-chan’s grandfather is also at home, and sometimes the two team up to add double the stress to Shin-chan’s mother.
All in all, the manga is definitely recommendable to Japanese learners, who are beginners and have acquired already a certain basic of vocabulary. It uses easy language, natural spoken dialogue and even allows the reader to understand new words.