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‘Sazae-san’ Long-Running Japanese Animation Show Hit by Coronavirus

Sazae-san
HASEGAWA MICHIKO ART MUSEUM

Japan’s ultra-long-running animation show “Sazae-san” has run out of fresh episodes due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on production. The show will stay on air but with repeats for the foreseeable future.

The show, about a suburban housewife called Sazae, has been on air continuously since 1969. It plays on Fuji Television Network every Sunday in the early evening slot of 6.30pm.

All TV drama and a large proportion of animation production in Japan has been halted by the nationwide lockdown that the government initiated last month as a means of slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, the government announced an extension of its state of emergency, meaning that the lockdown and production hiatus will continue.

The last time that “Sazae-san” turned to re-runs was back in 1975 as a consequence of the oil crisis that sent petroleum prices spiraling upward and the world economy spinning down.

In a statement, FujiTV said that some of the planned repeat episodes from May 2018 would feature the voice of Hiroshi Masuoka, the veteran actor who died of cancer in March.