Kabosu dies: the Shiba inu dog was a meme and face of Dogecoin

Screenshot, Kabosu’s owner, Atsuko Sato, rescued her from a puppy mill in 2008.

  • Author, Lucy Clarke
  • Role, bbc news

Kabosu, the dog behind the “doge” meme, has died after 14 years of Internet fame, his owner said.

The Japanese shiba inu inspired a generation of online jokes and became the face of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency.

He suffered from leukemia and liver disease and died on May 24.

“She passed away silently as if she was asleep while I was petting her,” Atsuko Sato wrote on her blog, thanking Kabosu fans.

“I think Kabo-chan was the happiest dog in the world. And I was the happiest owner.”

As a rescue dog, Kabosu’s true birthday was unknown, but Sato estimated his age at 18 years old.

In 2010, two years after adopting Kabosu from a puppy mill where she would otherwise have been euthanized, Sato, a teacher from Sakura, east of Tokyo, took a photo of her pet crossing its paws on the couch.

He posted the image to his blog, where it spread to the online forum Reddit and became a meme that bounced from college dorm rooms to office email chains.

The memes typically used ridiculous, broken English to reveal the inner thoughts of Kabosu and other shiba inu “doge,” pronounced like pizza “dough” but with a “j” at the end.

The image was also later turned into an NFT digital artwork that sold for $4 million (£3.1 million) and inspired Dogecoin, which two software engineers started as a joke and is now the eighth largest cryptocurrency. most valuable, with a market capitalization of $23 billion. .

Dogecoin has been endorsed by hip-hop star Snoop Dogg and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons.

But its most enthusiastic supporter is billionaire Elon Musk, who jokes about the currency in X (causing its value to skyrocket) and hails it as “the people’s cryptocurrency.”

Kabosu fell ill with leukemia and liver disease in late 2022, and Sato said in a recent interview with AFP that the “invisible power” of prayers from fans around the world helped her through.

Sato, 62, said she had become so accustomed to “unbelievable” events that when Musk changed the Twitter icon, now X, to Kabosu’s face last year, she “wasn’t even that surprised.”

In November last year, a statue of Kabosu and his sofa valued at $100,000 was unveiled in a park in Sakura, crowdfunded by Own The Doge, a crypto organization dedicated to the meme.

Sato and Own The Doge have also donated large sums to international charities, including over $1 million to Save the Children. The NGO says it is “the largest crypto contribution” it has ever received.

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