Takashi Yanase, the cartoonist of All Japan news’s wildly popular “Anpanman”, has died on Sunday at the age of 94, due to heart failure.
Yanase, a graphic designer, poet and lyricist, died at a hospital in Tokyo.
Anpanman – whose name reflects the red beans and bread he is made from – first appeared in 1973 in a picture book. The self-sacrificial hero takes on dastardly opponents to save the downtrodden from oppression, ultimately offering people his own bread head as sustenance.
“Mr. Yanase was the Anpanman. He embraced us gently and taught us to share,” actress Keiko Toda, whose voice was used for Anpanman’s character on the TV show, said in a statement. “We have lost a precious guiding post.”
The first episode of Anpanman was broadcasted in All Japan news in 1988 and since then children use to watch the show every Friday afternoon, with the cartoon continuing to occupy a prime broadcast slot.
Anpanman show is famous as well in places such as Hong Kong and Brazil. The cartoon entered the Guinness World Records in 2009 for the largest number of characters, at more than 1,700, the media reports.