Hachiya Kazuhiko, Japan
PostPet, 1997
E-mail software
Direction by Hachiya Kazuhiko
Design by Manabe Namie
Program by Kouki Takashi
Selected by: Yuko Hasegawa
PostPet was developed with Sony in 1997. Kazuhiko’s extremely popular program transmits e-mail in the form of a dancing pink bear named Momo (who is nothing more than binary data). Momo was the first pet Kazuhiko created; now there are eight different PostPets, including Mini-Rabbit Mippi and Penguin Ushe. Each “animal” lives in its own room (or electronic space). The pet goes out to deliver a message and doesn’t return until the recipient picks it up. Sometimes a PostPet sends an e-mail to his owner or a frequent correspondent, either intentionally or accidentally. He may get into arguments with someone else’s PostPet, who arrives bearing e-mail for his owner, and these arguments can turn into brawls. In an age when the prime attraction of email is its efficiency and speed, the software that features these troublemakers has sold a million copies since its release in 1998. Why is it so popular? The pleasure derived from genuine communication harbors the risk of miscommunication, and information- transmission tools that are increasingly convenient, transparent, and expeditious reduce that pleasure. Additionally, the transformation of the electronic environment into images of animals that live in the electronic space that surrounds us makes us more resistant to the stress brought on by computer problems. The concept is influenced by Japan’s animistic cultural background, evident also in Pokémon and the 1985 film Warriors of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika).
Hachiya Kazuhiko