You may or may not be aware of Hatsune Miku, Japan's foremost digital idol, but she is one of the things most likely to top 'Japan's weirdest exports' lists year round.
She's been around since 2007, and the chances are that you've already heard of her.
What you might not know is just how popular the vocaloid actually is internationally.
Hatsune Miku currently tops an online poll of, "Singers you'd like to perform at the London 2012 Olympics", over other such superstars as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, or even Japan's own megagroup AKB48.
Although the poll is by no means an official ranking of any sort, as Penn-Olson writer Yukari Mitsuhashi noted, the fact that this is a UK based website and UK based poll topic makes it quite unusual.
Actually, the fact that she's not actually real is what makes it so unusual. The prospect of 'her' headlining the London Olympics is just plain bizarre, let alone unlikely. She's already performed live, and quite successfully, with the help of some projection trickery.
Not that 'virtual' musicians are particularly new, Gorillaz headlined the UK's Glastonbury festival in 2010 in place of original headlines U2. Perhaps a virtual icon isn't so far-fetched for such a performance?
Hatsune Miku is the combination of Yamaha Corp.'s Vocaloid 2 synthesising technology and Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita, a creation of Crypton Future Media.
Miku is a sensation. Not just in Japan but also worldwide. UK's Clash magazine already ran a feature on the idol (albeit using a real model), and Google chose Miku for their Google Chrome advertising campaign -- signalling her as literally Japan's equivalent of Lady Gage or Justin Bieber, who fronted the U.S. campaign.
The chances of her actually performing at the London Olympics are slim to none, but the comments on the poll are very enlightening when explaining the idol's appeal. "Her songs are made from fans all around the world," one commenter said.
"She may be 'just a computer software' to some people, but to all of her fans, she is just as alive as we are."
Image source: Flickr.
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