Chibi Maruko-chan

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Chibi Maruko-chan
File:Chibi maruko-chan comic no 1 cover.jpg
Cover of the first volume by Shueisha
Genre Slice of life
Written by Momoko Sakura
Published by Shueisha
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Ribon
Original run August 1986April 2009
Volumes 16
Anime television series
Directed by Yumiko Suda
Tsutomu Shibayama
Studio Nippon Animation
Network Fuji Television
English network
Original run January 7, 1990September 27, 1992
Episodes 142 (List of episodes)
Anime film
Chibi Maruko-chan: My Favorite Song
Released December 19, 1992
Runtime 93 minutes
Anime television series
Studio Nippon Animation
Network Fuji TV
English network
Original run January 8, 1995 – present
Episodes 988 (List of episodes)
Television drama
Chibi Maruko-chan (live-action special)
Network Fuji TV
Original run April 18, 2006October 31, 2006
Episodes 2
Television drama
Marumaru Maruko-chan
Network Fuji TV
Original run April 19, 2007February 28, 2008
Episodes 31
Anime and Manga portal

Chibi Maruko-chan (Japanese: ちびまる子ちゃん?) is a Shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Momoko Sakura. The series depicts the simple, everyday life of Momoko Sakura in the times of when she was a little girl where everyone call her Maruko, and her family in suburban Japan in the year 1974. The series is set in the former city of Shimizu, now part of Shizuoka City, birthplace of its author.

The first story under the title "Chibi Maruko-chan" was published in the August 1986 edition of the shōjo manga magazine Ribon. Other semi-autobiographical stories by the author had appeared in Ribon and Ribon Original in 1984 and 1985, and were included in the first "Chibi Maruko-chan" tankōbon in 1987. The author first began writing and submitting strips in her final year of senior high school, although Shueisha (the publisher of Ribon and Ribon Original) did not decide to run them until over a year later. The author's intent was to write "essays in manga form";[1] many stories are inspired by incidents from her own life, and some characters are based on her family and friends. The nostalgic, honest and thoughtful tone of the strip led to its becoming popular among a wider audience.

Chibi Maruko-chan was adapted into an anime TV series by Nippon Animation, which originally aired on Fuji Television from January 7, 1990 to September 27, 1992. It has also spawned numerous games, animated films and merchandising, as well as a second TV series running from 1995 to the present. Maruko's style and themes are sometimes compared to the classic comic Sazae-san. In 1989, the manga tied to receive the Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo.[2] As of 2006, the collected volumes of the manga had sold more than 31 million copies in Japan, making it the fifth best-selling shōjo manga ever.[3]


The trademark face fault of this series, in reaction to an awkward "don't know what to say" situation (or sometimes, embarrassment) is the sudden appearance of vertical lines (黒い線 kuroi sen?) on a character's face, sometimes with an unexplained gust of wind blowing above that character's head.


Sakura family

Back row, from left: Hiroshi, Sumire, and Tomozo; middle row, from left: Sakiko and Kotake; and front row: Momoko (a.k.a. Maruko)
Momoko "Maruko" Sakura (さくらももこ Sakura Momoko?, まる子 Maruko)
Voiced by: Tarako, Live-Action: Ei Morisako
The title character, Maruko (born May 8, 1965), is a nine-year-old third-grade student raised in a relatively poor family of six. She is lazy, disorganized and usually late for school, in strong contrast with her neat, calm, and tidy older sister (a sixth-grader) who must share her room with her. Maruko, like many kids, tries to avoid homework and chores, and she takes advantage of her doting grandfather and squabbles with her sister. Nevertheless, she is a well-meaning child who tries to do good. She is similar to Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes in that she often uses adult-like language to express her childlike feelings. She has many food dislikes, including natto and tomatoes. She loves reading manga and is a good artist, and her stated goal is to become a manga artist when she grows up. In one episode, she admired and aspired to be like Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, and Marie Curie. It is implied that the show is drawn by Maruko herself.
Hiroshi Sakura (さくらひろし Sakura Hiroshi?)
Voiced by: Yūsaku Yara, Live-Action: Katsumi Takahashi
Maruko's father. He was introduced to Maruko's mother by her friend. He drinks every now and then but is a kind loving dad. His birthday is June 20, 1934, making him 40 years old during the series.
Sumire Sakura (さくらすみれ Sakura Sumire?)
Voiced by: Teiyū Ichiryūsai, Live-Action: Michiko Shimizu
Maruko's mother. She tends to scold Maruko a lot. She is a strict mother but a very pleasant one. She's extremely focused on household finances, and shops mainly at department stores during bargain sales. Her birthdate is May 25, 1934. It is revealed in one episode that her maiden name is Kobayashi.
Sakiko Sakura (さくらさきこ Sakura Sakiko?)
Voiced by: Yūko Mizutani, Live-Action: Mayuko Fukuda
Maruko's older sister. She is clever and diligent, the exact opposite of the lazy Maruko. She and Maruko fight often but they get along fine. Her birthday is March 21, 1962, making her 12 in the series.
Tomozou Sakura (さくら友蔵 Sakura Tomozō?)
Voiced by: Kei Tomiyama (1990-1995), Takeshi Aono (1995-2010), Bin Shimada (2010-), Live-Action: Fuyuki Moto
Maruko's kind but absent-minded grandfather. Naive and easily tricked, he keeps a pet turtle and loves watching TV with Maruko. When feeling distressed or nostalgic, he spontaneously retreats to a surreal inner world for a few seconds to improvise a sad yet comical haiku about his state of mind. His birthday is October 3, 1898, making him 76 in the series. The author has said that she used her own grandfather as the model for Tomozou, but that his personality is the opposite of Tomozou's.
Kotake Sakura (さくらこたけ Sakura Kotake?)
Voiced by: Yūko Sasaki, Live-Action: Yoshie Ichige
Maruko's grandmother. She's wise and knows what's good for the human body and wears a traditional Kimono. She was born on April 4, 1904. Her name of Kotake was never known in the series until it appeared in a 4-panel manga (Yonkoma) on July 1, 2007.

Maruko's friends

Tamae Honami (穂波 たまえ Honami Tamae?)
Voiced by: Naoko Watanabe, Live-Action: Karen Miyama

Maruko's best friend. She is intelligent and she does not include herself in other activities with Maruko. Nicknamed Tama-chan. She also has a father whose favorite hobby is photography.

Kazuhiko Hanawa (花輪 和彦 Hanawa Kazuhiko?)
Voiced by: Masami Kikuchi, Live-Action: Hikaru Mamiya

A really rich boy in Maruko's class who lives in a mansion. His mom is always away travelling and so he doesn't see her that often. He's multilingual who sometimes speaking phrases and words in English and French along with his native Japanese and also has a butler, Mr. Hideji, who drives a limo and picks him up every day from school. Hanawa is mentioned to have a crush on Maruko. He was born on August 7, 1965.

Sueo Maruo (丸尾 末男 Maruo Sueo?)
Voiced by: Nobuo Tobita, Live-Action: Kazuya Sato

Maruo is one of Maruko's classmates and serves as the male class president and always wants to be admired by others. He has very thick glasses because he is a very serious student and studies very hard every day; black lines appear on his face nearly all of the time, especially when he seems euphoric. He is paranoid that his classmates are seeking to replace him as male class president and will target classmates that stand out and do well to discourage them from running against him. His birthday is December 31, thus giving rise to his name.

Shouta Yamada (山田 笑太 Yamada Shōta?)
Voiced by: Keiko Yamamoto, Live-Action: Kyôyû Kobayashi

He laughs non-stop about anything good or bad. He is also known as the "classroom idiot boy" (クラスのバカ男子) or "Class Clown".

Osamu Nagayama (長山 治 Nagayama Osamu?)
Voiced by: Yūko Sasaki, Live-Action: Daiki Ueda
Emiko Noguchi (野口 笑子 Noguchi Emiko?)
Voiced by: Megumi Tano, Live-Action: Yumi Kono

A very weird, and creepy girl who always jokes usually on the macabre side. She also likes to make fun of others, especially Maruko. She often spies on people. It was reviled in one episode that she's the daughter of theatrical stage performers Shosuke and Fujio.

Other characters

Narration (ナレーション Narration?)
Voiced by: Keaton Yamada



The original Chibi Maruko-chan manga was serialized in the shōjo-oriented Ribon Magazine. 14 volumes were published from July 1987 to December 1996, with a 15th volume published in February 2003. On July 2007, a 4-frame version of Chibi Maruko-chan was published in every morning edition of several Japanese newspapers such as the Tokyo Shimbun and the Chunichi Shimbun.

The 16th volume of the manga was published on April 15, 2009.

TV series


Chibi Maruko-chan originally aired on Fuji Television. 142 episodes were broadcast, from January 1990 to September 1992. Maruko was voiced by Tarako; other voice actors included Kappei Yamaguchi and Hideki Saijo. Original manga author Momoko Sakura wrote the teleplay for most episodes. The first season was directed by Yumiko Suda and animated by Masaaki Yuasa (who later directed Mind Game in 2004). The series attained a TV viewer rating of 39.9%, the highest rating ever attained by an animated TV series in Japan at the time.[4] The theme song Odoru Ponpokorin became a hit and was interpreted by several artists including the KinKi Kids and Captain Jack. The series was exported throughout Asia and was especially popular in Taiwan. In addition, 65 episodes were dubbed into Arabic (called maruko-alsaghera, which means Little Maruko), where it garnered attention from people of all ages. It also aired in Germany with the same title as the original. It airs weekdays on Nick India in India.[5]

Opening theme:

  1. "Yume Ippai" by Yumiko Seki (eps. 1-142)

Ending themes:

  1. "Odoru Pompokolin" by B.B.Queens (eps. 1-66)
  2. "Hashire Shoujiki-mono" by Hideki Saijou (eps. 67-142)


A second series debuted in January 1995, airing on Sundays in the 6:00 pm time slot, before Sazae-san at 6:30 pm. This series was also dubbed into German and broadcast by RTL II, Super RTL and Jetix in Germany.

Opening themes:

  1. "Ureshii Yokan (Feeling Happy)" by Marina Watanabe (eps. 1-73)
  2. "Humming ga Kikoeru (Hear the Humming)" by Kahimi Karie (eps. 74-179)
  3. "Odoru Ponpokorin" by ManaKana & Shigeru Izumiya (eps. 180-253)
  4. "KinKi no Yaru Ki Man Man Song" by KinKi Kids (eps. 254-294)
  5. "Odoru Ponpokorin" by B.B.Queens (eps. 295-746; 793-807; 888-953)
  6. "Odoru Ponpokorin (2010 Version)" by Kaela Kimura (eps. 747-792)
  7. "Odoru Ponpokorin (25th Anniversary Version)" by B.B. Queens (eps. 808-887)
  8. "Odoru Ponpokorin (2014 Version)" by E-Girls (eps. 954-)

Ending themes:

  1. "Hari-kiri Jiisan no Rock 'n' Roll" by Hitoshi Ueki (eps. 1-???)
  2. "Akke ni torareta toki no uta" by Tama (eps. ???-179)
  3. Jaga Buttercorn-san" by ManaKana (eps. 180-230)
  4. "Chibi Maruko Ondo" by ManaKana (eps. 231-340)
  5. "Kyuujitsu no Uta (Viva La Viva)" by Delighted Mint (eps. 341-416)
  6. "Uchuu Dai Shuffle (Shuffle in Outer Space)" by Love Jets (eps. 417-481)
  7. "Arara no Jumon" by Chibi Maruko-chan with Bakuchu Mondai (eps. 482-850)
  8. "Happiness! 100 Million Years (100万年の幸せ!!)" by Kuwata Keisuke (eps. 851-)

On TV Japan, which is available in the U.S. and Canada, the second series (starting with the episodes broadcast in 2009) now broadcasts weekly in Japanese.

Live action

A live action series was shown on Fuji Television in 2006. The series was created to commemorate Chibi Maruko-chan's 15th anniversary and had 3 episodes, each 2 hours. All costumes and hairstyles are faithful to the original manga.

Both the second television series and the live action series were broadcast in 1080i HDTV.


  • Chibi Maruko-chan (Toho, 1990)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: My Favorite Song (1992)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Italia Kara Kita Shounen (2015)

Video games

All the Game Boy titles (which consists of minigames) were developed by KID and published by Takara. The other titles were published by different companies like Namco, Konami, Epoch and Banpresto.

  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Uki Uki Shopping (Famicom, 1990)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Okozukai Daisakusen (Game Boy, 1990)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan 2: Deluxe Maruko World (Game Boy, 1991)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Harikiri 365-Nichi no Maki (Super Famicom, 1991)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan 3: Mezase! Game Taishou no Maki (Game Boy, 1992)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan 4: Korega Nihon Dayo Ouji Sama (Game Boy, 1992)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Quiz de Piihyara (PC Engine, 1992)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Waku Waku Shopping (Mega Drive, 1992)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Maruko Deluxe Quiz (Arcade/Game Boy/Neo-Geo, 1995)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Mezase! Minami no Island!! (Super Famicom, 1995)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan no Taisen Puzzle Dama (Sega Saturn, 1995)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Maruko Enikki World (PlayStation, 1995)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan: Go Chounai Minna de Game Dayo! (Game Boy Color, 2001)
  • Chibi Maruko-chan DS Maru-chan no Machi (Nintendo DS, 2009)

See also

  • Kenta Hasegawa (former Japanese international football player). Momoko Sakura, the author of the manga, created a character called Kenta-kun who occasionally makes an appearance. He loves football and is a classmate of Chibi Maruko. This character was created after Hasegawa. Sakura and Hasegawa attended the same primary school during the same period.


  1. "夢の音色" Chibi Maruko-chan, January 18, 1989, volume 4, page 135.
  2. Hahn, Joel. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved 2009-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Historic Shōjo Manga Circulation Numbers". ComiPress. 2006-05-24. Retrieved 2008-01-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Nick India-Chibi Maruko Chan Accessed May 25, 2009

External links