Who is Wikipe-tan?

A few weeks ago, I posted an image of Wikipe-tan holding up a sign with “The Game” written on it.

Wikipe-tan holding a "The Game" sign.

Wikipe-tan, holding up a “The Game” sign.

That is a modified version of Wikipe-tan_holding_sign.png on Wikipedia.

So, who is Wikipe-tan?

Wikipe-tan, full-length view


The idea of a moe anthropomorphic mascot for Wikipedia, like the OS-tans, was first proposed on January 5, 2006. Wikipedia had a mascot vote at the time. Japanese Wikipedia user Kasuga created two images, licensed them under the GFDL, and Wikipe-tan was entered in the contest.

Original Wikipe-tan image

Original Wikipe-tan image.

Wikipe-tan's sock puppet show

Wikipe-tan’s sock puppet show.

In the end, the Wikipede won, but Wikipe-tan continued to be used around Wikipedia. In 2006, she became the mascot of the Anime and manga WikiProject and the Counter-Vandalism Unit. Today, she is also used or has been used by WikiProject Holidays’ Christmas task force and Admin coaching.

CVU Wikipe-tan badge

Wikipe-tan for Wikipedia’s Counter Vandalism Unit

Adult Wikipe-tan in a navy uniform

Adult Wikipe-tan in a navy uniform for a Military History WikiProject userbox.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales has expressed dislike for the character, but does recognize it as a community mascot.

The puzzle pieces that Wikipe-tan wears are pieces from the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_Logo_1.0.png"old Wikipedia puzzle ball that have been changed or corrected. The piece on her chest reads “ワィ”, which is a misspelling of “ウィ”, the first syllable in the Japanese transliteration of Wikipedia, “ウィキピエディア”. The piece on the left side of her head reads “祖”; the corresponding piece on the puzzle ball reads “袓”, a character in Chinese not used in Japanese (this piece is not present in the current logo).

Wikipe-tan getting a new badge

Wikipe-tan getting a new badge

In 2007, Kasuga created Commons-tan and Quote-tan, representing the sister Wikimedia projects Wikimedia Commons and Wikiquote respectively, as sisters for Wikipe-tan.

The Wikimedia sisters

The Wikimedia sisters. From left to right: Commons-tan, Wikipe-tan, Quote-tan.

Many images have been created since Kasuga’s first image in 2006, both by Kasuga and by others. A Wikipedia-namespace page holds an image gallery for Wikipe-tan. Check it out!

Wikipe-tan  with a sock puppet

Wikipe-tan playing with a sock puppet.

  1. sboink said:

    Unfortunately, Wikipe-tan’s reputation will forever have a black mark on it due to the revelation that kasuga39 is a creepy pedophile.

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