Celiacs: Beware of Bread-Headed Superheros!


What’s weirder than a freaky anime super hero?  One whose head is made out of bread.  Yes, that’s right, a bread headed superhero.  My sister-in-law, Alden, has introduced me to Anpanman, the superhero whose head is literally, a bun.  His cranium is composed of bread (bread in Japanese is “pan”), filled with bean jam.  Nothing says ‘sexy superhero’ like a hot pocket head.


Anpanman & some friends. Our hero is the one on the left.

According to Wikipedia, Anpanman is the most popular fictional character in Japan for children, ages 0-12.  Anpanman’s weakness is water (think Wicked Witch of the West) and anything that makes his head dirty.  He regains strength when his Uncle Jam bakes him a new head.  Obviously.  When Anpanman comes across anyone who’s hungry, he simply let’s them take a bite out of his head.  I sure hope there aren’t many starving celiacs in Japan.

Uncle Jam couldn’t keep making all of those heads by himself so he has an assistant named Butter Girl.  Anpanman is in love with Melonpanna (Her head’s made from melon bread, whatever that is.)  Melon is “soft hearted, affectionate, and sometimes clever,” according to Wikipedia.  Really, sometimes clever?

The Anpanman Museum

The Anpanman Museum

Other characters in this bread obsessed show are Breadheadman, CurryBreadman, and Cheese.  Cheese is a dog that Anpanman met when Cheese was starving, and our superhero saved Cheese by giving the canine a hunk of his head for nourishment.  It all makes so much sense.  And, you guessed it, Meanyman is our villain, who comes from Germ World and is the leader of The Viruses.

My nephew, Chip, getting acquainted with Anpanman.

My nephew, Chip, getting acquainted with Anpanman.

I’m a little weary of any superhero that uses bread to save the world, but I’ve got to admit, I’m a little fascinated by Anpanman, evidence of which is shown by the fact that I read the entire Wikipedia page about him, and I’ve constantly asked Alden about him since I read her blog post about my nephew’s visit to the Anpanman Museum and Playground on her blog, Wattsabi.  I guess the Japanese might find our crime-fighting turtles, named after famous Renaissance artists, who live in the sewer, a little odd too.


  1. Alden says:

    Ha-love this! Thank you for introducing our hero to the dirty south. Anpanman is so fascinating–such a window into the fears and yearnings of the Japanese. Germ phobia, “sometimes-clever” women, baked goods in an ovenless society… Can’t wait until you get here and we can get you some Anpanman cell phone bling or something. (I just hope that your interest in Anpanman will not translate to broken limbs.)

  2. moxie says:

    This is hilarious. I love learning about weird things in other countries.

  3. Betty says:

    Alden and I shared a bite of a bean curd bun and I think I’ll stick to the Pillsbury doughboy.
    I love your website!

  4. Betsy says:

    Thanks, Betty! Yes, I think I’m safe in that there’s nothing gluten-free about Anpanman. Enjoy having Alden home!

  5. Betsy says:

    Yes, no broken limbs for me! Anpanman’s dangerous. Hopefully I won’t bring too many germs with me to Japan. Can’t wait to see you guys!

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