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She’s a star!

In a similar vein to the last post, as well as humanoid robots, computer generated people are also HUGE in Japan!

Megpoid

The Sydney Morning Herald reported last week that ‘pop stars’ Megpoid and Akikoroid has made the top ten charts in Japan. But unlike the average pop star, nothing about this duo is real.

The duo is completely computer generated, including their high-pitched voices which are made on Yamaha’s Vocaloid program. But despite the fact that these popstars have been materialised out of thin air by some clever programmers, their cuteness and novelty factor has made them a world-wide sensation to techno geeks as well as Jpop lovers.

These are not the first characters to gain fame from the Vocaloid program. In fact there is a whole family of CG characters. Here are some in concert cheered on by what sounds like a stadium of fanboys;

This again demonstrates the prevalence of technology in everyday life in Japan.

There is a robotic pop star as well. The HRP-4C developed by Japan’s Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology last year was very popular in the geek-tech communities and also uses the Vocaloid program. However her stiff dance moves and awkward facial expressions do not measure up to the more fluid CG characters.

It’s a sign

For a country with many rigid social rules and etiquettes, Japan has a whimsical way of communicating public service announcements to its public, as to be expected in a country which is obsessed with cute and quirky designs and prints spliced with the emphasis on politeness and being careful not to cause offense.

It is hard to find signs in Japan one would expect in most other countries with their glaring colours and blaring messages. Instead imagine teddy bears in posters against public drunkenness, or this poetic poster against taking up too much seat space on the train:

"Your seat should only be as wide as your bottom, not the width of your spread legs."

and

"If you're going to read words during rush hour, we wish you'd also read between the lines" and "A person was waving at me, he was waving away my smoke"

After the Fukushima nuclear accident there has been a massive public movement for energy conservation. Some Japanese graphic artists have made their own posters for this cause and many are in the same vein as those typically cute yet effective PSA posters.

More can be seen on the Pink Tentacle blog.