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Sazae-san (サザエさん?) is a Japanese comic strip created by Machiko Hasegawa.

Sazae-san was first published in Hasegawa's local paper, the Fukunichi Shimbun (フクニチ新聞?), on April 22, 1946. When the Asahi Shimbun (朝日新聞?) 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.


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.

Today, the popular Sazae-san anime is frequently taken as nostalgia for traditional Japanese society (since it lacks modern marvels such as video games and otaku culture), even though it was leftist to the point of controversy when it originally ran in Japanese newspapers.


Isono and Fuguta family

  • Sazae Fuguta (フグ田 サザエ Fuguta Sazae?) (née Isono (磯野?))
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
  • Masuo Fuguta (フグ田 マスオ Fuguta Masuo?)
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-)
  • Tarao Fuguta (フグ田 タラオ Fuguta Tarao?)
Sazae and Masuo's 3-year old son. Usually called Tara-chan (タラ ちゃん?). Born on March 18.
Seiyū: Takako Sasuga
  • Namihei Isono (磯野 波平 Isono Namihei?)
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
  • Fune Isono (磯野 フネ Isono Fune?) (née Ishida (石田?))
Sazae's mother. Age 50 (48 in the manga); born on January 11 in Shizuoka.
Seiyū: Miyoko Asō
  • Katsuo Isono (磯野カツオ Isono Katsuo?)
Sazae's mischievous little brother. Age 11. He was often suffered under the wrath of his older sister Sazae, when he refused to do 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 about Katsuo's low grade on his tests and lectures through scolding. His main activity consist of playing baseball with his friends.
Seiyū: Nobuyo Ōyama (1969-1979), Kazue Takahashi (1980-1998), Mina Tominaga (1998-)
  • Wakame Isono (磯野ワカメ Isono Wakame?)
Sazae's little sister. Age 9. She is kind.
Seiyū: Yoshiko Yamamoto (1969-1976), Michiko Nomura (1976-2005), Makoto Tsumura (2005-)
  • Tama (タマ?)
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

  • Norisuke Namino (波野 ノリスケ Namino Norisuke?)
Namihei's nephew. He works for a publisher.
Seiyū: Ichirō Murakoshi (1969-1998), Tarō Arakawa (1998-2000), Yasunori Matsumoto (2000-)
  • Taiko Namino (波野 タイ子 Namino Taiko?)
Norisuke's wife.
Seiyū: Ryoko Aikawa , Masako Ebisu (1969-1979), Emiko Tukada (1979-)
  • Ikura Namino (波野 イクラ Namino Ikura?)
Norisuke and Taiko's son.
Seiyū: Reiko Katsura
  • Isono Mokuzu Minamoto no Sutamina (磯野藻屑源素太皆 Isono Mokuzu Minamoto no Sutamina?)
Namihei's ancestor.
Seiyū: Ichirō Nagai
  • Umihei Isono (磯野海平 Isono Umihei?)
Namihei's twin older brother.
Seiyū: Ichirō Nagai
  • Norio Fuguta (フグ田ノリオ Fuguta Norio?)
Seiyū: Fujiko Takimoto
  • Taizō Ishida (石田鯛造 Ishida Taizō?)
Seiyū: Norio Wakamoto

Isasaka family

  • Nanbutsu Isasaka (伊佐坂難物 Isasaka Nanbutsu?)
A novelist who lives in the next house of Isono family's house.
Seiyū: Sanji Hase , Eken Mine, Yasuo Iwata
  • Karu Isasaka (伊佐坂軽 Isasaka Karu?)
Nanbutsu's wife. Fune's childhood friend.
Seiyū: Reiko Yamada
  • Ukie Isasaka (伊佐坂浮江 Isasaka Ukie?)
Nanbutsu's daughter.
Seiyū: Keiko Han , Miina Tominaga, Eriko Kawasaki
  • Jinroku Isasaka (伊佐坂甚六 Isasaka Jinroku?)
Nanbutsu's son.
Seiyū: Hiroshi Takemura
  • Hachi (ハチ Hachi?)
Isasaka family's pet dog.

Hama family

  • Hama-san (浜さん?)
Seiyū: Eken Mine
  • Mitsuko (ミツコ?)
Seiyū: Keiko Han
  • Jurry (ジュリー Jurī?)

Other characters

  • Grandpa Ura-no (裏のおじいちゃん Ura-no Ojīchan?)
An old man who lives in a house in back of (ura-no) Isono family's house.
  • Grandma Ura-no (裏のおばあちゃん Ura-no Obāchan?)
Ura-no Grandpa's wife.
  • Saburo (三郎 Saburō?)
Seiyū:Issei Futamata
The employee of Mikawaya who makes house calls for food orders.
  • Rika-chan (リカちゃん Rika-chan?)
Seiyū: Reiko Katsura
One of Tarao's friends.
  • Hiroshi Nakajima (中島博 Nakajima Hiroshi?)
Seiyū:Sumiko Shirakawa
Katsuo's best friend and his classmate.
  • Kaori Ozora (大空カオリ Ōzora Kaori?)
Seiyū: Keiko Han , Miina Tominaga, Eriko Kawasaki
One of Katsuo's classmates.
  • Hayakawa (早川 Hayakawa?)
One of Katsuo's classmates.
  • Hanako Hanazawa (花沢花子 Hanazawa Hanako?)
Seiyū: Tarako, Keiko Yamamoto
One of Katsuo's classmates, who has a crush on him.
  • Hashimoto (橋本 Hashimoto?)
One of Katsuo's classmates.
  • Takuma Nishihara (西原卓磨 Nishihara Takuma?)
One of Katsuo's classmates.
  • Teacher (先生 Sensei?)
Katsuo's teacher.
  • Horikawa (堀川 Horikawa?)
One of Wakame's classmates.
  • Suzuko (すずこ Suzuko?)
One of Wakame's classmates.
  • Anago (穴子?)
Seiyū:Kazuya Tatekabe(-197?), Norio Wakamoto(197?-)
One of Masuo's co-workers.
  • Okajima (岡島 Okajima?)
  • 新巻
Seiyū:Norio Wakamoto
  • 湯水金蔵
Seiyū:Norio Wakamoto
  • 大八
  • Mikawaya (三河屋 Mikawaya?)
Seiyū:Norio Wakamoto
The shopkeeper of Mikawaya, a sake shop.
  • 三平
  • Boss of the Hanazawa Real Estate Agency (花沢不動産社長 Hanazawa Fudōsan Shachō?)
Seiyū:Norio Wakamoto
Hanako's father.
  • Nakajima's Grandfather (中島のお祖父さん Nakajima-no Ojīsan?)
  • イカコ
  • ウラシマさん
  • 間暮當
  • 火野要人
  • ジョン
  • フグ田ヒトデ
  • Machiko Hasegawa (長谷川町子 Hasegawa Machiko?)

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

  • the Japanese family names Isono, Fuguta, and Namino: iso means beach, fugu means blowfish, and nami means wave
  • Masuo: masu means trout
  • Fune: ship
  • Sazae: horned turban shell - a kind of sea snail
  • Tara: codfish
  • Namihei: nami means wave
  • Katsuo: skipjack tuna, a type of fish
  • Wakame: means seaweed, a green plant that lives underwater.
  • Norisuke: nori, dried seaweed used to wrap sushi
  • Taiko: tai is sea bream
  • Ikura: salmon roe
File:Sazae-san rocks.jpg

A typical Sazae-san strip

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.


The comic strip was published in book form by Shimaisha (姉妹社?), 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 live-action 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.[1] 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.[citation needed]

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 was the last television anime to use traditional cel animation, although as of April 2009, the opening credits were digital.[2]

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

See also


ar:سازايه-سان ko:사자에상 it:Sazae-san pl:Sazae-san ru:Sazae-san