From OS-tans.moe Wiki

In the broadest sense, an OS-tan (OSたん) is a personification or mascot of a technology product or company. Additional criteria are often imposed, like requiring the character to personify an operating system, to be female (male characters would then be referred as OS-kuns), or to be depicted with cute (moe) traits, in order to be qualified as an OS-tan. The term's usage is not well defined and may vary from one person to another[1].

Etymology and Origin

The term OS-tan is formed from the abbreviation of operating system, and the Japanese -tan (たん) suffix, an altered and even more affectionate version of the -chan (ちゃん) suffix that is usually used to designate girls. Who exactly coined the term or when it first appeared is unknown.

"Me-tan Icon"

Most sources tend to agree that the whole OS-tan concept likely started in 2003 with Me-tan, a personification of Windows Me created in the Futaba Channel. Me-tan was portrayed as a clumsy anime girl to represent the fact that Windows Me was notoriously unstable. The character probably inspired others from the Futaba community to create more characters for other OSes, some of the well known ones are XP-tan, 95-tan, or Mac OS 9-tan.

Depending on one's definition of OS-tan, characters like Win-chan or the iMac Girl may be considered as earlier OS-tans, both having been created in 1998.


It can be said that there are as many OS-tan worlds as there are artists.

User Shinjuku via Cool.ne.jp, 2004[2]

The OS-tan community originated from Japan, then expanded worldwide. A Flash animation, the Trouble Windows Opening, possibly contributed to the international spread. Though, it nowadays remains a niche and sparse community.

In a similar fashion as the definition of the term OS-tan, the community is not driven by any central authority, whether if it's an individual or group. Though the Futaba OS-tans were the or among the first and most popular, their work is merely one among others, and the same remark can apply to the Madobe Universe, or any other popular OS-tan series that might someday be created. With that being said, there is no one true, definitive way to portray an OS-tan, since interpretations may vary from person to person.

Everyone can take part in the community and enjoy the others' creations, research and analyze them, or expand themselves the OS-tan richness by creating and sharing their own original OS-tan characters, stories, or reinterpretations of existing ones.

External Links

Notes and References

  1. The OS-tans.moe Wiki has its own definition of OS-tans for the main articles, which is stated in the General Rules.
  2. Heika Love page on Shinjuku's website (archive from 2004)