Machiko Hasegawa

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Machiko Hasegawa
Machiko hasegawa.jpg
Hasegawa in August 1950
Born(1920-01-30)January 30, 1920
DiedMay 27, 1992(1992-05-27) (aged 72)
OccupationManga artist
Known forSazae-san

Machiko Hasegawa (長谷川町子, Hasegawa Machiko), January 30, 1920 – May 27, 1992, in Taku, Saga Prefecture) was one of the first female manga artists.[1]

She started her own comic strip, Sazae-san, in 1946.[2] It reached national circulation via the Asahi Shimbun in 1949,[3] and ran daily until Hasegawa decided to retire in February 1974. All of her comics were printed in Japan in digest comics; by the mid-1990s, Hasegawa's estate had sold over 60 million copies in Japan alone.

Life & Career[edit]

Machiko Hasegawa was born January 30th, 1920 in Taku, Kyushu. When she was 15, her father passed away and the family moved to Tokyo, where she took up drawing cartoons.[4] She successfully published several in magazines and newspapers, such as Sazae-san (サザエさん, 1946-1974), Ijiwaru Baa-san (いじわるばあさん - Granny Mischief, 1966), Apron Oba-san (エプロンおばさん - Aunt Apron, 1983), and a few that only ran for a short while.[citation needed] Her comics were the first to follow a consistent four-panel layout, which later became the standard.

Hasegawa never married, instead living with her older sister Mariko. Both were art collectors, and their collection is housed in the Hasegawa Machiko Art Museum.[5] The two started the Shimaisha Publishing Company, through which 20 million paperback copies of her comics have been published. Hasegawa died of heart failure on May 27, 1992, at the age of 72. Towards the end of her life she stopped appearing in public and on television, and her death was kept a secret for 35 days after her private funeral as requested in her will.[4]


Sazae-san ("Sazae" 栄螺 - Turbo cornutus) was a popular postwar comic strip depicting the life of Sazae-san, a fictional Japanese housewife.[6]

Her comic strip was turned into a dramatic radio series in 1955 and a weekly animated series in 1969, which is still running as of 2019.

Hasegawa was involved in a court case with a bus company's unapproved use of Sazae-san and its characters in promotional images, as well as the name of the business, "Sazae-san Tours". As a result of this case, new copyright laws were established that extended protection for fictional characters as individual identities, not just within their series of origin[7].

Selected comics were translated into English, under the title The Wonderful World of Sazae-san.

She received Order of the Precious Crown fourth class in 1990, and the People's Honor Award in 1992.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schodt, Frederik L. (1985). "Reading the Comics". The Wilson Quarterly (1976-). 9 (3): 64. JSTOR 40256891.
  2. ^ Sazae-San, Goodreads, Retrieved 11 February 2017
  3. ^ 沿革:朝日新聞社インフォメーション (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Kirkup, James (13 July 1992). "Obituary: Hasegawa Machiko". The Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  5. ^ Wada, Yuhei (December 27, 2010). "'The World of Red and White'". The Japan Times. The Japan Times, Ltd. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  6. ^ Garon, Sheldon (2000). "Luxury is the Enemy: Mobilizing Savings and Popularizing Thrift in Wartime Japan". Journal of Japanese Studies. 26 (1): 71. JSTOR 133391.
  7. ^ Port, Kenneth L. (1988). "Copyright Protection of Fictional Characters in Japan". Wisconsin International Law Journal. 205: 214–219 – via Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
  8. ^ "People's Honor Award" (in Japanese). Cabinet Office. Retrieved February 25, 2015.