by Chris MaGee
So many of Japan's beloved manga characters have been brought to the big screen: Golgo 13, Lone Wolf and Cub, Salaryman Kintaro, Cutie Honey. Those are just a few that come to my mind as I write this, but there have been so, so many others. When I saw this story over at Japan Today I knew that I had to report on it if for the only reason that it involves one of Japan's most popular and earliest manga characters.
Starting in april of 1946 female manga artist Machiko Hasegawa began drawing the adventures of head strong housewife Sazae Fuguta for the Fukunichi Shimbun. The adventures of Sazae-san, as she ended up b eing known, became so opular with manga readers that the Asahi Shimbun asked Hasegawa to jump ship at Fukunichi and come draw Sazae-san for them. She did exactly that in 1949 and for the next 25 years the daily ups and downs of Sazae-san had the Japanese laughing while slipping messages about women's liberation in with the comedy.
Now, like so many iconic manga chaacters before, Sazae-san will be getting the live-action treatment, not in a film, but in a Fuji TV drama set to air this fall. In the title roll of Sazae-san is 32-year-old actress Arisa Mizuki who said at a recent promotional event that she was honoured to be playing such a famous character.
To get a taste of Sazae-san check out this clip from the 1969 animated series based on Hasegawa's manga.