Justin’s Japan: The World Belongs to Hatsune Miku

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Pop idols are everywhere in Japan, but most of them remain there. One particular idol breaks that tradition, with a notable exception: she’s not human.

Hatsune Miku, whose name means “first sound of the future,” is a Vocaloid (machine-made vocals) digital female avatar and creation of Crypton Future Media who currently has over 100,000 unique songs in her voice, which are synthesized tracks reminiscent of Auto-Tune. In Japan, Miku is massively popular and has appeared in numerous hit video games, music videos and ad campaigns, and her appearances with major artists like Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams has boosted her international appeal.

Miku returns to the U.S. this summer for Miku Expo 2018, her third American tour. Miku Expo consists of live concerts that feature a range of hits from across her career as well as utilizing the latest holographic projection and voice synthesizing technology to create the ultimate Hatsune Miku experience—green onion-colored glowsticks included. For this year’s edition, fans were invited to sample a 39-day trial version of Hatsune Miku V4X software in English to create a new song, with the winning entry to be performed at every show on the North American tour.

True to its name, Miku Expo also presents an exhibition of Miku fan art by artists from Japan and local areas plus workshops and other events held to complement the concert.

The six-date U.S. tour wraps at New York’s legendary Hammerstein Ballroom on July 14th. After that comes Miku’s second appearance in Mexico City, then it’s off to Europe in December for Miku’s first-ever live concerts in Paris, Cologne, and London. The Paris date is set to coincide with the wider “Japonismes 2018” project celebrating Japanese and French relations throughout the year.

For more info and tickets, visit www.mikuexpo.com.