Maru Taro, a celebrated Shibafluencer, has sadly passed away at 16. Maru is considerd of the OG pet influencers, with his rise to international fur celeb status starting way back in 2011. He was best known for his joyful smile and friendly vibe.
Maru was born in 2007 and was bought by his dad, Shinjiro Ono, as a Christmas gift to himself. But he didn’t start publicly posting on Instagram until 2011. Ono chose to do this as his repsonse to the devestating earthquake that rocked Japan in March of that year, which included a tsunami that led to a nuclear meltdown that the country is still dealing with today. He wanted to share his pup’s cheerful mood, complete with one stunning smile, to help cheer up his fellow humans across his country.
By 2015, Maru Taro had around 2 million Instagam followers. At the time, that made him the most followed dog on Instagram. In a survey that year of Japan’s most popular Instagram accounts, Maru came in second, beat only by human actress and model Kiko Mizuhara.
Since then, he was considered a pop culture icon in Japan and loved around the world. Examples include an official shoutout from Instagram and his own art exhibit.
Since Maru’s passing on January 8th, his dad has posted several tributes to him on Instagram. His first, published only four days ago, has over 145,000 likes and almost 14,000 comments.
Maru has been promoted to the Sky Team as of January 8, 2024! Mom and Dad were really worried, but it seems they’ve finally come to terms with it. Big brother John, Cocoa-chan, and Shoes-kun are waiting too, so it’s all good. And there’s also the water uncle, so no worries about getting thirsty. So everyone, don’t worry! Maru gets energized when everyone is smiling. But really, 16 years felt both short and long. I was taken to various places all over Japan and ate a lot of delicious food. More than anything, I’m truly happy to have become friends with so many people around the world. These 16 years have been like a treasure for me, and I’ve studied hard to be promoted to the Sky Team! So everyone, please don’t cry. I would be happy if you could share your memories with Maru in the comments. I’ll take my time reading them in the Sky Team. I’m going with my head held high! Bye Bye! PS If Dad is looking down, give him a dropkick on my behalf, okay? So, I’ll be back for Ohigan, guided by the smoke of the meat!Shinjiro Ono, @marutaro, Instagram, January 2024
Within a day, many fans have left flowers in his memory.
I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING!
Maru Taro will hold a special place is millions of hearts out there, especially his fans in his home country who suffered through the 2011 earthquake. For more Maru, please see our previous feature on him.