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Cover of the first children's book featuring Hamtaro
(Tottoko Hamutarō[1])
Written byRitsuko Kawai
Published byShogakukan
Original run19972000
Further information
Original video animation
Directed byTomomi Mochizuki
Produced by
  • Kazuhiko Kurokawa
  • Tadahito Matsumoto
Written byTomomi Mochizuki
Music byMotoyoshi Iwasaki
StudioTMS Entertainment
Released15 September 1999
Anime television series
Directed byOsamu Nabeshima
Written by
  • Shinzo Fujita
  • Yoshiyuki Suga
  • Miho Maruo
  • Atsuhiro Tomioka
  • Fumihiko Shimo
  • Koji Miura
  • Toshiyasu Nagata
  • Michiru Shimada[2]
Music by
StudioTMS Entertainment
Licensed by
Original networkTXN (TV Tokyo)
English network
Original run 7 July 2000 31 March 2006
  • 296 (Japanese)
  • 105 (English)
(List of episodes)
Original video animation
Directed by
  • Osamu Nabeshima (1, 4)
  • Kazuhiro Ochi (2, 3)
Written by
Music byMotoyoshi Iwasaki
StudioTMS Entertainment
Released 6 August 2001 6 August 2004
Episodes4 (List of episodes)
Anime film series
Directed byOsamu Dezaki
Produced by
  • Masato Matsumoto
  • Yuoh Sekita
Written by
Music byMotoyoshi Iwasaki
StudioTMS Entertainment
Released 15 December 2001 23 December 2004
Runtime50 minutes each
Films4 (List of films)
Anime television series
Trotting Hamtaro Hai!
Directed byOsamu Nabeshima
Written byYoshiyuki Suga
Music byMotoyoshi Iwasaki
StudioTMS Entertainment
Original networkTXN (TV Tokyo)
Original run 5 April 2006 26 March 2008
Episodes77 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Trotting Hamtaro Dechu!
Directed byOsamu Nabeshima
StudioTMS Entertainment
Original networkTXN (TV Tokyo)
Original run 2 April 2011 30 March 2013

Hamtaro, known in Japan as Trotting Hamtaro (とっとこハム太郎, Tottoko Hamutarō), is a Japanese manga and storybook series created and illustrated by Ritsuko Kawai about a hamster. The manga was serialized in Shogakukan's "Shougaku Ninensei" (Second Grade) magazine in April 1997;[3] more Hamtaro stories would later be added into the other grade-level magazines, as well as in Ciao. The series focuses on a hamster named Hamtaro, who has a variety of adventures with other hamsters known as the "Ham-Hams" ("Hamuchans" in the Japanese version). Viz Media published the manga adaptations and storybooks in English.[4][5]

Multiple anime adaptations were produced by TMS Entertainment and aired on TV Tokyo. The first series was dubbed in English by The Ocean Group.


The series revolves around a hamster named Hamtaro, who is owned by a 10-year-old girl named Laura Haruna (Hiroko Haruna in the Japanese/Original version). Curious by nature, he ventures out each day to make friends and go on adventures with a clan of fellow hamster friends known as The Ham-Hams. The Ham-Hams meet at a special clubhouse built by Boss ("Taisho").



There are three manga about Hamtaro, A Home for Hamtaro, Hamtaro Gets Lost, and Jealous Hamtaro. In the first two, Hamtaro's owner is named Yukari while in the latter, her name is Amy.


In Japan, Hamtaro aired three anime series, released four films, several specials, many video game/DVD releases and merchandise. By 2002, the franchise had generated $2.5 billion in merchandise sales.[6] The success was not paralleled in the United States, however, with only the first series, some special episodes, three video games (though two others were released in Europe), and limited merchandise. On 23 February 2011, it was announced that Hamtaro would be receiving a series titled Trotting Hamtaro Dechu!.[7]


The Hamtaro franchise has multiple video game titles with independent storylines. These titles include adventure and educational games that can be found for PC, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance (GBA), and the Nintendo DS consoles.

Title Platform Release Date
Tottoko Hamtaro: Tomodachi Daisakusen Dechu Game Boy Color[8] JP: 8 September 2000[8]
Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! Game Boy Color JP: 21 April 2001
NA: 28 October 2002
Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak Game Boy Advance JP: 3 May 2002[9]
NA: 8 April 2003[9]
Hamtaro: Wake Up Snoozer! PC/Mac 1 October 2003
Hamtaro: Rainbow Rescue Game Boy Advance 22 May 2003
Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Games Game Boy Advance 26 July 2004
Tottoko Hamtaro: Nazo Nazo Q Kumonoue no ? Jou Nintendo DS 1 December 2005
Hi Hamtaro! Ham-Ham Training Nintendo DS JP: 15 March 2007

NA: 23 September 2008

Hi Hamtaro! Little Hamsters Big Adventures iOS 12 April 2011

In popular culture[edit]

On 26 July 2020, a group of more than 2,000 protesters in Bangkok called the Free Youth Movement led a protest against the government of Thailand which involved singing the theme song for Hamtaro with modified lyrics to say "The most delicious food is taxpayers’ money. [...]Dissolve the parliament! Dissolve the parliament! Dissolve the parliament!"[10] Other student protests during the same week continued to use Hamtaro as a symbol for the government's "feasting on taxpayer's money," and have involved groups running in circles, as if in hamster wheels, while singing the modified version of the jingle.[11][12]


  1. ^ Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia. California: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 978-1933330105.
  2. ^ "テレビ東京・あにてれ とっとこハム太郎" (in Japanese). tv-tokyo.co.jp. Archived from the original on 13 December 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  3. ^ よみもの「ハムスターが やってきた」(とっとこハム太郎・連載一回目) (in Japanese). Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  4. ^ Hamtaro Gets Lost and Other Stories (The Adventures of Hamtaro, Vol. 2) Amazon.com
  5. ^ The Adventures of Hamtaro, Vol. 3: Jealous Hamtaro and Other Stories Amazon.com
  6. ^ Macdonald, Christopher (20 May 2002). "Hamtaro Launch Event". Anime News Network. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Tottoko Hamtarō Dechu TV Anime to Premiere in April".
  8. ^ a b "【GBC20周年企画(2)】いちばん売れたゲームボーイカラー専用ソフトは『遊☆戯☆王DM4』! では2位は? GBC専用ソフト販売ランキングTOP10! - ファミ通.com". ファミ通.com (in Japanese). 21 October 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak (2002) Game Boy Advance release dates - MobyGames". MobyGames. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  10. ^ "'Delicious taxes': Thai protesters use Japanese cartoon hamster to mock government". Reuters. 26 July 2020. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Hamster hero? How a Japanese cartoon became Thai youth protesters' symbol". Reuters. 1 August 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  12. ^ Tan, Yvette (1 August 2020). "Why young people are protesting in Thailand". BBC News. Retrieved 2 August 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]