Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Takashi Yanase manga artist behind Anpanman passed away

One of Japan's most beloved cartoon characters, Anpanman, lost his father renowned manga artist Takashi Yanase. Takashi Yanase has passed away at the age of 94 because of heart failure. Anpanman is not widely recognized abroad as other Japanese characters like Hello Kitty but it is one of Japan’s most widely beloved children’s characters. Created in 1973, its anime adaptation Soreike! Anpanman (それいけ!アンパンマン?, Let's Go! Anpanman) is one of the most popular anime series amongst young children in Japan.

Takashi Yanase, who served in an artillery unit during the Second Sino-Japanese War, says that the hellish conditions he faced during the war directly inspired his most beloved character. Yanase has said that, while he was never in danger from enemy combatants, he was often on the brink of starvation during the war and would dream about eating anpan. Much later in life, he would parlay those dreams into the creation of the benevolent superhero, Anpanman.[1]

Anpanman is a superhero with the head made of anpan, or bread filled with red bean paste, a typical snack in Japan. In the cartoon, the round-faced, smiley hero, clad in a red suit and long cape, fights his archrival Baikinman, or a germ man, while rescuing the weak.[2]

The self-sacrificial hero, who even allowed starving people to bite into his head, rose to stardom in Japan in a picture book series that started in 1973, racking up sales totalling 68 million copies over the past 30 years. The Anpanman television cartoon series started in 1988, and has spread across Asia, where is also popular in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan.[2]

Takashi Yanase
Takashi Yanase manga artist behind Anpanman.
Takashi Yanase is known for his pacifist messages. He also wrote poems and lyrics for children's songs.

[1] - Anpanman creator Takashi Yanase dies at age 94
[2] - Takashi Yanase, creator of Japanese cartoon character Anpanman, dies at 94

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