Police officer has overtaken athlete as the most popular profession among new elementary school boys in Japan, while baker and cake shop owner maintained the top spot for girls, an annual survey showed Friday.

It marks the first time ever the top pick for boys has changed since the survey by Kuraray Co., a supplier of synthetic leather used to make school backpacks, began in 1999.

Police officer accounted for 17.2 percent of boys' votes, surpassing 13.0 percent for athlete, while baker and cake shop owner, chosen by 26.7 percent of new elementary school girls, held the top spot for the 23rd year in a row.

For girls, police officer moved up three spots to sixth, with a Kuraray spokesperson attributing the profession's growing popularity, regardless of gender, to the influence of anime and other media.

Boys' votes for athlete were down 5.8 points from the previous year, with the spokesperson saying the drop was due to fewer opportunities to watch sports matches during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

YouTuber ranked at a record-high seventh for boys, up three spots from last year. With more children watching the video-sharing website from a young age, the content-producer profession has continued to climb up the rankings after first appearing at 54th in 2016.

For girls, singer, model and other performers, which all fell in the same category, ranked second, while nurse came in third. Both remain unchanged from last year.

The Kuraray survey covered 4,000 children -- 2,000 of each gender -- who bought its backpacks.