Japan has done it again, this time blending their gift for technological superiority with their insane grasp of weird pop culture. The countries latest hottest J pop star is Hatsune Miku, a cute, stylish and solidly positioned with a number one single. Hatsune Miku clearly stands out from the pack in this fight for stardom. She is a hologram. Hatsune’s concerts are always sold out and are full of screaming, adoring fans.
Now, like something out of a science fiction film, videos have emerged which show Miku on tour in Japan, singing a selection of hits. Miku is a digital avatar created by Japanese technology firm Crypton Future Media. This avatar can be purchased and programmed to perform any song you wish to assign. This 5’2″ cutey is 16 years old but her personality remains somewhat a mystery.
Crypton records vocals tracked by actors, and runs them through Yamaha’s Vocaloid software to create its characters. Miku’s voice was created by taking vocal samples from the voice actress Saki Fujita. All of the samples contained a single Japanese sound which when strung together would create full words and phrases. Miku is a hot ticket, selling out concerts in a nationwide tour filled with thousands of fans waving glow sticks, scream and crying in adoration so popular with the japanese kids. She struts around her stage like a real rock star, and being the first hologram, truly holds the crown of rock goddess. Gorillaz, the band fronted by Damon Albarn, used projected holograms at the MTV music awards in 2005 and 2006 but these were projected onto a back screen, rather than in full three dimensions.
Miku’s marketing machine has left no detail overlooked, complete with a thriving fan club, Facebook page, and ‘her’ own record label. Her crossover into television proved her acting chops seamlessly in a string of popular Japanese anime TV programs. She performed her first ‘live’ concert in 2009 and has also travelled to Singapore on tour.
In March 2010 three metal plates with Hatsune Miku’s image etched on them were placed on board Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki and sent into space after a nationwide petition with more than 14,000 signatures demanded she be included.