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Anpanman (アンパンマン Anpanman?), written by Takashi Yanase, a Japanese writer of children's stories, is one of the most popular anime cartoon series for young children in Japan. It is produced by Nippon Television Network Corporation. Each animated cartoon is approximately 24 minutes long split into 2 episodes of approximately 10 to 11 minutes each.

Yanase has been writing Anpanman since 1968. The television series called Soreike! Anpanman (それいけ!アンパンマン Go! Anpanman?) has been on the air in Japan since 1988.

As of September 26, 2006, Anpanman's books have collectively sold over 50 million copies in Japan.[1]

In 2005, according to research by Bandai, Anpanman is the most popular fictional character from age 0 to 12 years in Japan.[2] He particularly appeals to the younger end of that age group. Heavily merchandised, the Anpanman characters appear on virtually every imaginable children's product, from clothes to video games to toys to snack foods.

Yanase became inspired by the idea of Anpanman while struggling to survive as a soldier in World War II. Many times he became faced with the prospect of starvation, which made him dream about eating Anpan, a bean-jam filled pastry.

Kōichi Yamadera and Mika Kanai, the voice actors for Cheese and Melonpanna respectively, were married. This is also translated in a way to the cartoon as Cheese spends most of his time in Melonpanna's company in the episodes she's in. Yamadera also does voices for recurring characters in the show, such as Kamameshidon. They divorced in Spring of 2006.[3]

The series spawned a short lived spin-off show after one of the more popular recurring characters on the show, Omusubiman.


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