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bossing around

Sazae-san

is a Japanese comic strip created by Machiko Hasegawa.

Sazae-san was first published in Hasegawa's local paper, the , on April 22, 1946. When the wished to have Hasegawa draw the comic strip for their paper, she moved to Tokyo in 1949 with the explanation that the main characters had moved from Kyūshū to Tokyo as well. The comic dealt with contemporary situations in Tokyo until Hasegawa retired and ended the comic on February 21, 1974. As one of Japan's longest running and oldest comic strips and animations, the series is known to nearly every Japanese person, young and old.

Characters

Isono and Fuguta family

The main character. Age 24 (27 in the manga), born on November 22 in Fukuoka. In the beginning Sazae's mother was worried that Sazae was too unladylike to ever attract a husband, but she married Masuo.
Seiyū: Midori Katō

Sazae's salaryman husband. 28 years old (32 in the manga). Born on April 3 in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka. After marrying Sazae, he moved in with her family.
Seiyū: Shinsuke Chikaishi (1969-1978), Hiroshi Masuoka (1978-)

Sazae and Masuo's 3-year old son. Usually called . Born on March 18.
Seiyū: Takako Sasuga

Sazae's father and patriarch of the family. Age 54. Born on September 14. (Originally his birth year was given as 1895). Around the time of the Bon Festival, his doppelganger Meiji Revolution samurai ancestor Isono Mokuzu Minamoto no Sutamina haunts his dreams.
Seiyū: Ichirō Nagai

Sazae's mother. Age 50 (48 in the manga); born on January 11 in Shizuoka.
Seiyū: Miyoko Asō

Sazae's mischievous little brother. Age 11. He was often suffered under the wrath of his older sister Sazae, when he refused to his homework or accidentally insults other guests in the manner of faux-pas. Same thing occurs for Namihei, his father when he usually finds out that Katsuo gets low grade on his tests. His main activity consist of playing baseball with his friends.
Seiyū: Nobuyo Ōyama (1969-1979), Kazue Takahashi (1980-1998), Mina Tominaga (1998-)

Sazae's little sister. Age 9.
Seiyū: Yoshiko Yamamoto (1969-1976), Michiko Nomura (1976-2005), Makoto Tsumura (2005-)

The Isono family's pet cat. He hates mice.
Seiyū: ? (The meaning of this "?" credit has been a topic of debate amongst viewers for years.)

Isono and Fuguta family's kinship

Namihei's nephew. He works for a publisher.
Seiyū: Ichirō Murakoshi (1969-1998), Tarou arakawa (1998-2000), Yasunori Matsumoto (2000-)

Norisuke's wife.
Seiyū: Ryoko Aikawa , Masako Ebisu (1969-1979), Emiko Tukada (1979-)

Norisuke and Taiko's son.
Seiyū: Reiko Katsura

Namihei's ancestor.
Seiyū: Ichirō Nagai

Namihei's older brother.
Seiyū: Ichirō Nagai

Seiyū: Fujiko Takimoto

Seiyū: Norio Wakamoto

Isasaka family

A novelist who lives in the next house of Isono family's house.
Seiyū: Sanji Hase , Eken Mine, Yasuo Iwata

Nanbutsu's wife. Fune's childhood friend.
Seiyū: Reiko Yamada

Nanbutsu's daughter.
Seiyū: Keiko Han , Miina Tominaga, Eriko Kawasaki

Nanbutsu's son.
Seiyū: Hiroshi Takemura

Isasaka family's pet dog.

Hama family

Seiyū: Eken Mine

Seiyū: Keiko Han

Other characters

Seiyū:Issei Futamata

Seiyū: Reiko Katsura
One of Tarao's friends.

Seiyū:Sumiko Shirakawa
Katsuo's best friend and his classmate.

Seiyū: Keiko Han , Miina Tominaga, Eriko Kawasaki

Seiyū: Tarako,Keiko Yamamoto
One of Katsuo's classmate, who has a crush on him.

Seiyū:Kazuya Tatekabe(-197?),Norio Wakamoto(197?-)
One of Matsuo's co-worker.

Seiyū:Norio Wakamoto

Seiyū:Norio Wakamoto

Seiyū:Norio Wakamoto

Seiyū:Norio Wakamoto

The names of the characters are derived from marine animals and things relating to the sea:

The inspiration for the characters is said to have come to Hasegawa as she was strolling along the beach one day.

Although the comic ran for twenty-eight years, the characters never aged: Sazae was always 27 years old, her husband 28, her father and mother were always 54 and 48, and Sazae's siblings were around eleven and seven years of age, respectively.

Plots

The comic was very topical. In the beginning, Sazae was more interested in being herself than dressing up in kimono and makeup to attract her future husband. Hasegawa was forward-thinking in that, in her words, the Isono/Fuguta clan would embody the image of the modern Japanese family after World War II.

Sazae was a very "liberated" woman, and many of the early plotlines revolved around Sazae bossing around her husband, to the consternation of her neighbors, who believed that a man should be the head of his household. Later, Sazae became a feminist and was involved in many comical situations regarding her affiliation with her local women's lib group.

Despite the topical nature of the comic, the core of the stories revolved around the large family dynamic, and were presented in a lighthearted, easy fashion. In fact, the final comic, in 1974, revolved around Sazae's happiness that an egg she cracked for her husband's breakfast produced a double yolk, with Katsuo remarking about the happiness the "little things" in life can bring.

The move from Japanese to Western clothing

As the comic moved from the 1950s to the 1960s, the clothes the characters wore changed to fit the times. Sazae, who was famous for wearing a nondescript dark dress, now started wearing pantsuits and even the occasional miniskirt. Holding the traditional role of matriarch, Fune did not dress modern at home but wore Western clothes on family outings.

Publishing

The comic strip was published in book form by , which Machiko ran with her sister, Mariko. In April 1993, this publishing company went out of business and the comic books went out of print. The same year, Asahi Shimbun purchased the right to publish the forty-five paperback volumes. Selected comics have been published in the United States by Kodansha America, Inc.

Sazae in the Japanese media

In 1955, a radio station aired a serial drama based on the comic strip. The same year, a short-lived animated television series was started, and was aired on what is now TBS.

In November 1965, TBS started a dramatic television series modeled after the comic strip. It aired until September 1967.

In 1979, NHK made a dramatic serial which ran for six months, focusing on the creation of Sazae-san and Machiko Hasegawa in her younger days.

Sazae-san animated series

In October 1969, Fuji Television started an animated comedy series, which is still on the air today and currently in production (making it the longest-running animated TV series in history). It has been broadcast every Sunday from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. and contains three vignettes. The animated series has some characters, like Katsuo's classmates, who don't appear in Hasegawa's original works.

The end credits for each episode include brief animations of some of the original comic strips, with the dialogue appearing in word balloons. Since November 1991, each show has ended with a janken match between Sazae and viewers at home. From 1969 to 1991, Sazae would toss a bean in the air and catch it in her mouth at the end of each show. This was often imitated by viewers. In 1990, a child choked to death after imitating the trick, and Fuji Television switched to the janken match.

The animated series was originally sponsored solely by Toshiba -- including placement of its products within the show -- but later expanded to other sponsors.

Sazae-san is now the last anime to use traditional animation.

  • Opening Song: "Sazae-san" by Yuko Uno
  • Ending Song: "Sazae-san Ikka" by Yuko Uno

See also

References

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