In the gloomy years following Japan's defeat in World War II, years marked by food shortages and grim living conditions, the daily comic strip Sazaesan brought a desperately needed ray of sunshine and laughter into Japanese homes. Since its first publication in 1946, it has delighted two generations and become a phenomenal publishing success, with more than 62 million copies sold in book form. A host of popular adaptations has appeared in other media: radio programs, an animated television series, even movies.

The secret of Sazae-san's success is its cheerful (if perennially scatterbrained) heroine, Sazae, and her very ordinary family. Their trials and tribulations poke gentle fun at everyday Japanese life, allowing readers to share in jokes at their own expense. Sazae-san offers a rare glimpse into the daily life of the average Japanese family — a cultural education disguised as affectionate and often hilarious entertainment. And for those looking for a fun way to study language, the text of the strip is given in both English and Japanese.