Everyone who uses a computer must be familiar with the OS, which stands for “Operation System” in English, in one way or another. For example, the most popular OS on earth, Windows(In the various version of course)!

Now, back to our topic, OS-Tan, what does it mean?

Basically, the word “Tan” in Japanese is the short version of “Chan” (Used for calling girls or something cute, like Mikuchan or Umaruchan)

Surprising enough, OS-Tan has been in existence for a long time! It originally created by the Artist community on the 2-Chan forum, with the sharing of ideas to design “Bishoujo” (Girls) that represents the various version of operating systems.

Its history traced back to around the year 2000!

The 2-Chan forum is where the many anonymous artists gather to discuss and create. And with the release of the Windows ME(Cira 2000), they found the inspiration.

In reality, Windows ME is an OS that was unstable in many aspects, thus the image of Window ME soon became that of a clumsy and sensitive girl. Basing her characteristics on real life elements, this strain of creation continued to be the common points for all moe anthropomorphism.

Later, many other OS girls were drawn with story lines of how OS girls are living together as a family, with ME-tan. Let’s introduce!


Windows ME

Artist drew the Windows ME as a girl in Lolita/Maid dress with an exclamation symbol(“!”) on her dress to represent the constant error notifications received by users.

Even with Windows ME’s easy-to-follow programs, the users will still very often experience errors. The artists of the 2-Chan community thus design ME-tan as a clumsy girl with the tendency to break things, causing uneasy moment for the OS sisters.

Having said that, she is a cute girl and one of the most memorable OS-tan!


Windows 3.1


The OS-tan family contained many older characters as well. Windows 3.1 is one of them, It was the very first commonly used GUI based Operating System by Microsoft. Thou you need to boot it up from MSDOS.

The design for OS-tan was of a girl in classic Lolita dress with white hair paired with Black-cat (Representing MSDOS)


Windows 95

Window 95 was designed to be the big sister in Kimono to convey that Window 95 was the oldest 32bit OS.


Windows 98

Window 98 was meant to be a pair of twin sister in blue box, Window 98 and Window 98 SE (Second Edition)


Windows 2000 or 2k

There are many popular OS which was released quickly after Windows ME, like, Windows 2000 or 2K they very stable and functional. Hence, 2k tan turned out to be a serious looking girl with glasses to match the capablity.


Windows XP

Next is Windows XP, the most popular OS from 2001 till 2008.

A futuristic OS with a beautiful interface but underneath all the good stuff is its high Random Access Memory(RAM) consumption. This inspired XP-tan’s character to be a beautiful and sexy girl but with the appetite of a horse!

Because of the beautiful outlook, XP-tan became the favorite OS tan for many people.


Windows Vista

Many OS-tan have followed after that, including brief and tragic Windows Vista. 


APPLE’s Macintosh lineup with its rising popularity is also given a design as a MacOS-tan!

OS-tan by then is no longer reserved for only Operating Systems! Software like Antivirus, Web Browser, Websites and popular software, all got the Anthropomorphic treatment. Official OS-Tans also became more common raising the curtains on the Official OS-tan period.

Official OS-tan Period

Windows 7

With the coming of Windows 7 in 2009, with the many positive feedback from the Japanese market. Pairing with the fact that it is a Lucky Number (Lucky Seven) release. The Windows 7 Ultimate DSP Editions was launched with the first Official Mascot with the name of Madobe Nanami. Madobe became the family name of Windows.

*This name has the same meaning with Windows 7, by Mado = Windows, Nana = 7.

This OS-tan has given character voice performed by Mizuki Nana or Nana-chan, believe it or not, her name also has the same pronunciation with number 7!

CD Sound and Wallpaper of this OS-tan will come with this Windows 7 package also to promote this character.

Windows 8

Coming after was Windows 8 DSP Editions, an Akihabara exclusive. The Twins sisters OS-tan Mascot is named Madobe Yu and Madobe Ai (Character voice by Nishi Asuka and Tamura Nao)

The two is separated by the distinct package design and merchandise.

Yu and Ai is also English pun for You and I.

Windows 10

Microsoft officially introduced her as Madobe Touko on 31 July 2015 after concluding an online poll to name her. Her name can be directly translated as Windows 10 (Mado = Window, Tou = 10) and she arrived from 100 years in the future.

With the image of a girl with silver hair and in a blue dress, she was perfectly matched with image concept of Windows 10, a High-Technology concept corresponding to Modern users need.

Claudia (Windows Azure) – Hikaru (Silverlight) – Aizawa Inori (IE10)

There are more OS-tan Mascot for other Microsoft software/feature, like

Claudia on Windows Azure that focusing on the promotion of Cloud Computing or Hikaru from Windows Silverlight and much more!

Of course, not limiting to only Operating System, even “Internet Explorer” was remade into a human form by the name of Aizawa Inori, first introduced in AFA2013 in Singapore, for the launch of the then latest Internet Explorer 11. She would also be the first in her family to have a super cool animated feature.

Asides from OS, Voice Synthesis Program like Vocaloid also has its own Character Mascot representing each of the many versions of the Voice Synthesiser. For example, Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin and Len, and others. But they were named differently.


The origins of OS-tans may have been created by the masses within 2ch but it was an extremely creative idea, adding value to any media or merchandise (In this content is Computer Operation System).

Making it memorable and have a distinct selling point, especially official characters in from the recent years. It can be considered one of Japan’s most effective Brand establishment techniques!



This article was first published in Thai on 29 August 2015 on Akibatan. It is translated and reproduced with permission from Akibatan, as part of the SOZO Media Network.