Anpanman theme park opens in quake-hit Sendai


ANPANMAN MUSEUM — Children visit the Sendai Anpanman Children’s Museum & Mall in Sendai, Northeastern Japan, on July 22. The facility opened after a three-month delay after being hit by the March quake and tsunami. Kyodo News photo

SENDAI (Kyodo) — A theme park featuring Anpanman, one of the most popular Japanese anime series for young children, opened July 22 in Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture, after the March 11 earthquake delayed its opening for three months.

The “Sendai Anpanman Children’s Museum and Mall,” a two-story facility on 7,000-square-meter premises, was initially set to open April 22 before the Golden Week holiday period but the quake forced the operator to repair damage caused by the quake, including broken windows.

On the admission-free first floor, a bakery named after Jam Ojisan, or Uncle Jam, one of the main characters from the series, is among 19 stores, while on the second floor visitors can see the museum area, including a theater to watch Anpanman shows, for a fee of 1,000 yen ($12.82).

The fee was lowered by 500 yen ($6.41) to help relief efforts in quake-hit areas.

“I want to give dreams and smiles to the children who experienced the earthquake,” said Seiko Sugita, the head of the facility located near JR Sendai Station.

Such a facility featuring Anpanman is the third in Japan, following ones in Yokohama and Kuwana in Mie Prefecture.

Anpanman (an-bread man), is a superhero who has a renewable head made of a bun filled with “an,” or bean jam.

The stories, revolving around the hero who offers his own head to those who are hungry, have been extremely popular with young children in Japan since their debut nearly 40 years ago. They have been authored by 92-year-old cartoonist Takashi Yanase.



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