Kabosu, The Shiba Inu Who Gave Us The Doge Meme, Has Died

May 24th, 2024 - 9:31 AM EDT by Philipp Kachalin

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Kabosu the Shiba Inu, aka Doge, and the tweet about her death from her owner.

Kabosu, the beloved Shiba Inu from Japan that gifted the world the Doge meme, has died peacefully in her sleep at age 18, her owner wrote on her blog and on social media today.

Kabosu, whom most people know as Doge, lived with her owner Atsuko Sato ever since she was adopted. All her life, Kabosu was the star of Sato's blog along with Sato's three cats, with their owner sharing their daily adventures.

While Kabosu had many dedicated fans in Japan, her local fame pales in comparison to what one single photo session of Kabosu managed to do for her popularity worldwide.

Kabosu first went viral beyond Japan after her owner Atsuko Sato posted several photographs of her to her blog in February 2010. These photographs would later become some of the most shared images on the internet, used in millions upon millions of memes.

Many will remember the original type of Doge memes that were very popular back in 2012-2013 (so viral, much share). These memes were a hit on Tumblr and Reddit, where an entire subreddit dedicated to Doge memes was launched.

Then, after the trend naturally fell off and the Doge fandom fell apart, in 2016, thanks to iFunny, a renaissance of Doge memes was launched — the era of ironic Doge memes had users editing the image in bizarre ways and captioning the famous photo with sometimes weird, often offensive jokes written in Impact font.

Memes about Doge finding himself in wacky situations gained particular popularity as the unlikely protagonist appeared in the wrong place at the wrong time again and again.

The resurgence of Doge memes was quickly followed by the launch of many Doge-themed meme pages on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, and even gave its name to the infamous /r/okbuddy subreddit, where Doge memes found so much love.

Additionally, it would be a disservice not to mention possibly the largest Doge-loving community of all time, the /r/Dogelore subreddit, which was the driving force behind the proliferation of Doge memes in late 2010s and early 2020s. There, Doge was joined on his wacky adventures by a multitude of canine characters, including Cheems, Walter, and many others.

Doge's meme popularity eventually leaked into the world of cryptocurrency as well. While Dogecoin, created back in 2013, seemed like nothing more than a meme coin destined to disappear into obscurity, it managed to surge again and again, with a massive 2021 rally pushing the price of the coin up to the moon and beyond, if only for one brief and glorious moment.

But all while all of this was happening, Kabosu lived a long, blissful life in Japan, mostly unaware of all the joy she brought to millions upon millions of people all over the world.

In our 2020 interview with Atsuko Sato, we asked her what she wants people to remember about Kabosu and Doge’s legacy, and she said:

Kabosu being Doge doesn't really feel real to me, but we were invited as special guests to Devcon5 [an annual gathering held by the Ethereum Foundation] in Osaka last October. There, we were able to meet participants from abroad, and many people called out Kabosu's name with their voices shaking. Seeing them so moved to pet her, I started to feel grateful towards all of the fans of Kabosu as Doge in the world. I'm pleased that the life of a dog who was on the verge of being put down could be saved and she could be remembered forever, in an unexpected turn of events, as a dog who is loved by people all around the world.

In Japan, there are many people who found out about Kabosu through my blog, became interested in rescue dogs, and [then] welcomed them to their own families. I think Kabosu must have been born with that mission.

Thanks for all the laughs, Kabosu, we will not forget you. Sleep tight, little pup. ❤️

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