The Longest-Running Anime is not what you think it is: Find Out Why?

Sazae San and One Piece

The times are ever-changing, what is loved today might not even be looked at tomorrow. Or worse, it would lose all its relevance in the future. In such an unpredictable environment, some anime have continued to remain integral to the anime world long after they first aired. But very few of them are still airing decades after their first release.

If you ask an anime fan, which is the longest-running anime? Everyone would scream in unison, One Piece. While One Piece is one of the longest-running anime, there’s an anime that has been around for longer than One Piece. This anime has taken the throne for being the longest-running anime of all time. Let’s find out everything about the longest-running anime which has surpassed One Piece by a wide margin. 

The longest-running anime isn’t One Piece but…

Ussop and Nami
A still from One Piece featuring Ussop and Nami | Image Courtesy via IMDb

One Piece the anime started airing in 1999 and it has over 1070 episodes at present. The anime and manga have risen to the heights of popularity to become one of the most celebrated anime of all time. Even after airing for more than 2 decades, One Piece has yet to surpass many anime to become the longest-running anime. So what is the longest-running anime, if not One Piece?

Sazae San anime
Sazae San anime, the longest-running anime of all time | Image Courtesy of Studio Eiken

The longest-running anime is Sazae San. Unlike One Piece, Sazae San is more relevant in its home country. Sazae San holds the record for being the longest-running animated show in the Guinness Book of World Records. The first episode of the anime aired in 1969 and it’s still ongoing. While One Piece has been going on for 24 years, it’s 54 years for Sazae San. 

What is Sazae San?

Sazae San anime
A still from Sazae San anime | Image Courtesy of Studio Eiken

Sazae san is an anime ingrained in the complexities of Japanese Society, which is all about simplicity. It tackles the daily life of a Japanese household in the classic slice-of-life fashion; while also pointing out how important the happiness found in the little moments can be. Every episode is 24 minutes long and divided into 3 small segments.

With that Sazae San has more than 2500 episodes and 7000 segments in total. The new episodes come out every Sunday on Fuji TV in Japan. The anime respectfully captures the intricacies of Japanese culture, with the portrayal of a traditional Japanese family comprising multiple generations.

What is Sazae San
The three generations portrayed in Sazae San anime | Image Courtesy of Studio Eiken

This is also the reason why the anime isn’t well known outside of Japan. It’s too Japanese for people who are not already familiar with the culture. As for the audience it’s targeted, almost everyone in Japan is familiar with Sazae San. Some people have grown along with the anime. 

Despite its massive popularity, Sazae San doesn’t have any official merchandise or video releases out of respect for the wishes of the creator, Machiko Hasegawa. Too bad even if we want to go back and watch the early episodes, we probably won’t find them anywhere. Although the first few episodes are available on Amazon Prime Japan, they are not subbed. 


Sazae San
Sazae San anime | Image Courtesy of Studio Eiken

Sazae San continues to grace Sunday evenings on Japanese television. An anime like Sazae San might be obscure out here, but it is an indispensable part of the anime world. Imagine living with the episodic releases of your favorite anime for more than 50 years of your life. Sazae San fans are living that dream. 

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