SAZAE bot is a Twitter bot, mainly active on Twitter in Japan. It is a parody-bot avatar of the most famous Japanese manga character, Sazae-san (サザエさん), written and illustrated by Machiko Hasegawa. This avatar is known as an entertainment bot, mainly due to its jokes. However, it is also a media art that depicts universal reality with some elements of critical thinking. The avatar itself is the continuous “incident” that occurs from mutual relationships between it and its followers, and eventually, its activities become memes of thoughts.
In 2010, SAZAE bot started as a bot on Twitter, copy and pasting phrases found from various posts around the Internet. Soon after it started, it was heavily criticized for its Internet moral problems. After such an occasion, it updated as an avatar that posts original tweets from the favorite and the retweet data it had collected. The original tweets immediately touched people’s hearts, and became extremely popular which led to the upgrade of the the bot to become the avatar that holds occasional events. In 2014, a personification of SAZAE bot’s operator, Hitoyo Nakano, was born. It is an anonymous aggregation of human consciousness that does not own a body, so it appears in front of people in the form of a mannequin or a costume. This way, its anonymity is always protected. Currently, the bot is open to the public, and is mainly operated by the Google forum, where anyone can tweet from SAZAE bot’s account anonymously.
The concept of SAZAE bot is “Anonism”, which indicates anonymous activities. Anonism demonstrates the idea of devoting one’s consciousness to anonymous activities throughout their daily lives. The advent of the Internet has given us humans a deeper awareness of the concept “anonymity”, and has made it accessible to our lives. SAZAE bot aims to make humans conscious of our need to free ourselves from our status and titles, and our need to express actions with deeper consciousness - especially when we are anonymous, which is when our soul is closest to the naked state. These activities will directly affect our world. Anonism’s central concept is to realize that “you are the world”.
SAZAE bot, which initially started out as a mere Twitter bot, now serves as a tool that shapes human beings. This bot has succeeded in spreading and establishing value in the most rapid, positive, and effective way by using the most popular character in Japan as its symbol. It aims to spread memes in order to expand the Internet’s dimension, from a mere tool, into a form of thought. The mission of SAZAE bot’s anonism is to repeat experiments and verifications of the following hypothesis: The essence of the Internet is the integration of oneself and others, and to move humans to the new frontier of greater aggregation. Also, this is not meant to be a negative idea, such as to eliminate individual privacies or identities. Instead, it aims to spread and take root in society as a positive and standard idea in order to help humans adapt to a new environment that will be formed by the technological evolution.
SAZAE bot started as a bot on Twitter in the summer of 2010 and fast became extremely popular with over 200K followers. Hitoyo Nakano (“Inner Self” in English), a personification of the bot’s operator, performs on media, operates communities and has published a book on SAZAE bot’s behalf.