伺か (Ukagaka/Nanika) is a desktop mascot application software which originally stemmed from a spinoff of the program ‘Personaware’ under the name ‘Fake Personaware・Are igai no nanika’.
In 1993 a student in Maizuru National Institute of Technology started development on a program under the concept name ‘Virtual Personality Agent Human Machine Interface’. In October of 1998 the program was completed and released as a freeware download under the name ‘Personaware‘(a.k.a ‘Personaware with Haruna‘), and quickly became popular for the simplicity of the window layout and the cuteness of the the default character bundled with the program, ‘Haruna’.
left is the original official Haruna, right is Nise-Haruna (Fake Haruna)
Haruna became a niche interest to some otaku because of her twintails and the ability to change her clothes. It has undergone multiple name changes since the beginning of development and has been renamed from ‘Personaware‘ to ‘Chararina‘.
A free character development kit for users was released as well called “PDK” (Personal Development Kit) in which users could make their own desktop mascots and pseudo-AI using their own custom art and personalities. These are now known as “ghosts” in the somewhat evolved fanmade spinoff of the program usually referred to the project as ’Ukagaka/Fake Personaware ・Are igai no nanika’ or ‘Nise-Haruna/Fake Haruna’.
‘Ukagaka’ went on to create an entire niche underground otaku community (although they’re mostly from 2ch and Futaba) which I want to share more about in the future.