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Anpaman is a Japanese picture book series written by Takashi Yanase since 1973. The anime adaptation Soreike! Anpanman is one of the most popular anime series for young children in Japan. The show has been on the air in Japan continuously since October 1988. Heavily merchandised, the Anpanman characters appear on virtually every imaginable children's product, from clothes to video games to toys to snack foods. The Anpanman books have collectively sold over 50 million copies in Japan. The Anpanman character was inspired by Yanase's struggles to survive as a soldier in World War II. Many times, he became faced with the prospect of starvation, which made him dream about eating anpan (a bean-jam filled pastry).
The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan's largest winter events, attracts a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad every year.
Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see a large number of splendid snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park, the grounds at Tsudome, and the main street in Susukino.
For seven days in February, these statues and sculptures (both large and small) turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.
The Snow Festival began in 1950, when local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. In 1955, the Self-Defense Force joined in and built the very first massive snow sculpture, for which the Snow Festival has become famous for now. The Festival has grown from these humble beginnings to become one of the biggest and most well known of Hokkaido's winter events.
The Snow Festival is considered to be a festival of international-caliber.