Anpanman (??????, Anpanman?), written by Takashi Yanase, a Japanese writer of children's stories, is one of the most popular anime cartoon series in Japan. It is produced by Nippon Television Network Corporation. Each animated cartoon is approximately 24 minutes long split into 2 episodes of approximately 12 minutes each.
Yanase has been writing Anpanman since 1968. The television series called Soreike! Anpanman (???????????, 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.
In 2005, according to research by Bandai, Anpanman is the most popular fictional character from age 0 to 12 years in Japan. He particularly appeals to the younger end of that age group.
Yanase became inspired by the idea of Anpanman while struggling to survive as a soldier in World War II. He many times became faced with the prospect of starvation which made him dream about eating a bean-jam filled pastry called Anpan.