, creator of the "Anpanman" series, passed away due to heart failure at 03:08 on October 13th. He was 94.
Yanase was born on February 6, 1919 and after graduating from an industrial design course, he worked on many jobs including industrial copywriting, publishing columns for newspapers, writing movie reviews for magazines, writing for and hosting radio programs, working on marketing for a department store chain, writing screenplays for television, writing songs and lyrics, as well as writing children's literature. In 1973, he created the character Anpanman, a superhero with a head that looked like "anpan", a bun filled with red bean paste which is very popular in Japan. The illustrated stories of "Anpanman" were serialized in the monthly picture book "Kinderbook".
In 1988, "Anpanman" was adapted into a TV anime series named "Sore Ike! Anpanman
". The show proved to be extremely popular with children and their parents and is still ongoing with more than 1,200 episodes aired (it holds the Guinness record for "the animation series with the most characters" with almost 1,800 characters). Moreover, every year a movie on "Anpanman" has been released, with 25 films to date. "Anpanman" is also a huge merchandise franchise, with sales in 2010 estimated to be 1.1 trillion Yen (sponsorship deals excluded). It has also been adapted into games on many platforms.
Yanase was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure
by the Japanese government in 1991. At the time of his death, he was the chairman of Nihon Mangaka Kyoukai
(Japan Comic Artists' Association) and editor for the literature quarterly "Shi to Fantasy" (Poem and Fantasy).
Wikipedia page for Anpanman: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anpanman
Official Anpanman website: http://anpanman.jp/