Hamtaro, known in Japan as Trotting Hamtaro (とっとこハム太郎, Tottoko Hamutarō), is a Japanese manga and storybook series created and illustrated by Ritsuko Kawai. The manga is serialized in Shogakukan's all-girl's magazine Ciao in 1997, focusing on a hamster named Hamtaro who has a variety of adventures with other hamsters, known as "Ham-Hams" ("Hamuchans" in the Japanese version). Viz Media published the manga adaptations and storybooks in English.[2][3]

Hamtaro cover.jpg
Cover of the first children's book featuring Hamtaro.
(Tottoko Hamutarō[1])
Written byRitsuko Kawai
Published byShogakukan
Original run19972000
Anime television series
Directed byOsamu Nabeshima
Written byYoshiyuki Suga
Music byMotoyoshi Iwasaki (JP)
Tom Keenlyside
John Mitchell
David Iris (U.S.)
StudioTMS Entertainment
Licensed by
Viz Media
Original networkTV Tokyo
English network
YTV (2002–2005)
TV3 (2003)
GMA Network
TV5 (2009–2010)
Fox Kids (2002–2004)
Cartoon Network (Toonami) (2002–2004)
Original run 7 July 2000 31 March 2006
Episodes296 (Japanese)
105 (English) (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Directed byOsamu Nabeshima
Music byMotoyoshi Iwasaki
StudioTMS Entertainment
Released August 6, 2001 August 6, 2004
Episodes4 (List of episodes)
Anime film series
Directed byOsamu Dezaki
Produced byMasato Matsumoto
Yuoh Sekita
Written byOsamu Dezaki (1)
Michiru Shimada (1, 2)
Tomoko Konparu (3, 4)
Music byMotoyoshi Iwasaki
StudioTMS Entertainment
Released December 15, 2001 December 23, 2004
Runtime50 minutes each
Films4 (List of films)
Anime television series
Trotting Hamtaro Hai!
Directed byOsamu Nabeshima
Written byYoshiyuki Suga
Music byMotoyoshi Iwasaki
StudioTMS Entertainment
Original networkTV Tokyo
Original run April 5, 2006 March 26, 2008
Episodes77 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Trotting Hamtaro Dechu!
Directed byOsamu Nabeshima
StudioTMS Entertainment
Original networkTV Tokyo
Original run April 2, 2011 March 30, 2013
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Multiple anime adaptations were produced by TMS Entertainment and aired on TV Tokyo. The first series was dubbed in English by The Ocean Group.


The series revolves around a hamster named Hamtaro, who is owned by a 10-year-old girl named Hiroko Haruna (Laura Haruna in the English dub). Curious by nature, he ventures out each day to make friends and go on adventures with a clan of fellow hamster friends known as The Ham-Hams. The Ham-Hams meet at a special clubhouse built by Boss ("Taisho").



There are three manga about Hamtaro, A Home for Hamtaro, Hamtaro Gets Lost, and Jealous Hamtaro. In the first two, Hamtaro's owner is named Yukari while in the latter, her name is Amy.


In Japan, Hamtaro aired three anime series, released four movies, several specials, many video game/DVD releases and merchandise. By 2002, the franchise had generated $2.5 billion in merchandise sales.[4] The success was not paralleled in the United States, however, with only the first series, some special episodes, three video games (though two others were released in Europe), and limited merchandise. On 23 February 2011, it was announced that Hamtaro would be receiving a series titled Tottoko Hamtaro Dechu.[5]


The Hamtaro franchise has multiple video game titles with independent storylines. These titles include adventure and educational games that can be found for PC, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance (GBA), and the Nintendo DS consoles.

Title Platform Release Date
Tottoko Hamtaro: Tomodachi Daisakusen Dechu Game Boy Color[6] JP: September 8, 2000[6]
Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! Game Boy Color JP: April 21, 2001

NA: October 28, 2002

Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak Game Boy Advance JP: May 3, 2002[7]

NA: April 8, 2003[7]

Hamtaro: Wake Up Snoozer! PC/Mac October 1, 2003
Hamtaro: Rainbow Rescue Game Boy Advance May 22, 2003
Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Games Game Boy Advance July 26, 2004
Tottoko Hamtaro: Nazo Nazo Q Kumonoue no ? Jou Nintendo DS December 1, 2005
Hi Hamtaro! Little Hamsters Big Adventure Nintendo DS September 23, 2008

In popular cultureEdit

On July 26, 2020, a group of more than 2.000 protesters in Bangkok called the Free Youth Movement, led a protest against the government of Thailand which involved singing the theme song for “Hamtaro” with modified lyrics to say “The most delicious food is taxpayers’ money. [...]Dissolve the parliament! Dissolve the parliament! Dissolve the parliament!”[8] Other student protests during the same week have continued using Hamtaro as a symbol for the government's "feasting on taxpayer's money," and have involved groups running in circles, as if in hamster wheels, while singing the modified version of the jingle.[9][10]


  1. ^ Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia. California: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-933330-10-4.
  2. ^ Hamtaro Gets Lost and Other Stories (The Adventures of Hamtaro, Vol. 2) Amazon.com
  3. ^ The Adventures of Hamtaro, Vol. 3: Jealous Hamtaro and Other Stories Amazon.com
  4. ^ Macdonald, Christopher (20 May 2002). "Hamtaro Launch Event". Anime News Network. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Tottoko Hamtarō Dechu TV Anime to Premiere in April".
  6. ^ a b "【GBC20周年企画(2)】いちばん売れたゲームボーイカラー専用ソフトは『遊☆戯☆王DM4』! では2位は? GBC専用ソフト販売ランキングTOP10! - ファミ通.com". ファミ通.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak (2002) Game Boy Advance release dates - MobyGames". MobyGames. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  8. ^ "'Delicious taxes': Thai protesters use Japanese cartoon hamster to mock government". Reuters. 26 July 2020. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Hamster hero? How a Japanese cartoon became Thai youth protesters' symbol". Reuters. 1 August 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  10. ^ Tan, Yvette (1 August 2020). "Why young people are protesting in Thailand". BBC News. Retrieved 2 August 2020.

External linksEdit