Yakitate!! Japan (焼きたて!! ジャぱん) is a shounen manga by Takashi Hashiguchi. It was serialized in Shogakukan's Shounen Sunday last 2002 and ended last 2007 with a total of 26 volumes. In 2006, VIZ licensed the manga for release in North America. It has also been licensed and published in France, Indonesia, Germany and Spain.
The manga was adapted to anime by Sunrise in October 2004. The anime series was broadcasted on TV Tokyo and spanned 69 episodes ending in March 2006.
The story revolves around Azuma Kazuma and his quest for Japan, a bread which could represent Japan to the whole world. He goes to Tokyo after graduating from middle school and joins the Pantasia Bakery where he trains his bread skills with his fellow bread artisans. And when he enters several competitions, he gets to meet more bakers both from Japan and also from around the world, some of which are great bakers like him.
The title of the series itself gives a peek at what to expect from the manga. It translates to freshly baked Japan. But the word Japan is a word play acting as the country itself and also as "bread" from the Japanese word "pan". The series is full of these, from word plays and puns to parodies. But aside from that it also is very educational in a sense that it explains different baking techniques, methods and even ingredients.