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A girl named Miku Hatsune…

Appearance Miku...

A girl named Miku Hatsune…

Orbiting the planet Venus is the JAXA probe “Akatsuki” and on board are several plaques featuring a very unusual personality: Miku Hatsune.

Miku’s journey on the Akatsuki started in 2010, just shortly before she hit the top of the Japanese album charts. Both are astonishing accomplishments for a 16 year old Japanese performer that only began her career in 2007. Even more extraordinary is that Miku Hatsune isn’t even a “person”.

Miku: I’m going to Venus?
Me: Well, not you per se. Just your images.
Miku: You had me worried there for a moment. By the way, where is Venus?
Me: Second planet from the Sun.
Miku: Venus… that’s a “green” planet right? Do they have leeks?
Me: Probably not, nothing lives there.
Miku: Right then, I’m going to continue reading my manga…

She is a vocaloid. To be pedantic; the Miku Hatsune that we know today is merely an anthropomorphic manifestation of a voice synthesizer program. She has no fixed appearance nor personality. However, she is generally perceived to be an anime personality with teal colored twin tails (since this was how she was first illustrated by her creators), has an unhealthy obsession with leeks and never ages. But in the annals of music history, she is significant. Although she is not the first of her kind, she is the first to gain world wide prominence.


In addition to her accomplishments in space, in the short span of her career, she has made many significant achievements; and she is still going strong. That is not bad for “someone” who doesn’t actually exist, except perhaps in our imaginations.

Me: ?
Me: Not really…
Miku: BUT…

But she is unique as a performing personality. The world has never really seen anything like her and because of this, she has single handedly redefined the nature of the music industry to an extent that her existence may have even begun to change the way the music industry functions.

Miku: I didn’t break anything!
Me: Actually you did…
Miku: Well if you’re referring to the flower pot that I threw at Neru…

Miku Hatsune’s accomplishments in the music industry are truly astonishing. For example, Frank Sinatra…

Miku: Frank who?
Me: Frank Sinatra…
Miku: Who’s that?
Me: A famous American performer whose career spanned several decades: 1939-1994.
Miku: I wasn’t even born then!
Me: True…

In the span of his career, Frank Sinatra released about 1200 songs. Miku Hatsune in comparison over the short span of her career has around 100,000 songs to her credit. So how is it possible that a girl that doesn’t even exist have this type of record?

Simply because she is the world’s first “crowd sourced” superstar. Almost all her songs were written by her fans. Her fan base has even defined her personality, how she looks, how she behaves, what she likes, what she says, what she sings. Almost everything that she does, because in essence Miku Hatsune is an empty shell. Yet, her legions of fans have filled this void, given her a voice and personality. This has made her almost unique in the annals of music history. True, there are other vocaloids, like IA and Gumi, and Miku Hatsune certainly is not the first Vocaloid…

Miku: Yeah, Meiko came before me!
Me: Yep, but it’s a good thing that you mention Meiko.
Miku: Why?
Me: Because she was the first vocaloid to be advertised with an illustrated character.
Miku: So…

Meiko was not the first vocaloid either. Vocaloids were the brain child of Hideki Kenmochi. The first vocaloids were Lola and Leon who were released as software for professional use only. Meiko came next and was the first vocaloid produced by Crypton Future Media Inc. She was followed by Kaito. Kaito, however, was a commercial flop. Only 500 copies of Kaito were initially sold.

Miku: Kaito… *smirk*
Me: That’s not very nice Miku…

Then in 2007, Crypton created the Vocaloid2 engine and released it as Ann. This was still a professional software and as with the other vocaloid software, was not marketed to the general public. This all changed with Crypton’s next release: Miku Hatsune.

Unlike previous vocaloids, Miku Hatsune was released to the general public, plus she was not designed to sound “professional”. Instead, she was designed to sound like an anime girl. Coupled with her anime girl design, this immediately gained her a lot of attention with Japan’s huge anime fan base. Additionally, since Crypton offered very lax licensing terms with her use in derivative works, this resulted in an explosion of creative works derived from her image and voice bank.

One of these creative works was the MMD (MikuMikuDance) software that first appeared in otaku circles in 2008. The first version of this software only came with, and could only support, a single model.

Miku: And that would have been “me”, right?
Me: Yep…

With easy access to software to create songs and to make animated 3D videos to visualize the songs of Miku Hatsune, the rest became history. Miku has been featured in thousands of videos on NicoNico and YouTube, which have been viewed millions of times. She has appeared in live performances at concerts in the form of a holographic projection. She is the poster girl of the Good Smile Racing franchise, she advertised Toyota cars as well as Domino pizzas and as noted above, she’s also orbiting Venus on a space probe.

She can even be made to appear from your Android smartphone as an AR (augmented reality) projection.

GOOGLE Play Store: AR Concert with Miku

Because of the way she is “crowd sourced” by her fans and it is they who define her persona (unlike real Japanese idols and celeb performers in the Western world who have very carefully cultivated and protected public personas) she’s having an impact on her real life counterparts. This is because, her fans sees her as being more “honest” in terms of her personality. So now, real performers are beginning to want these same freedoms that Miku enjoys; they are beginning to want to be their true selves, rather than some cleverly marketed projection conceived by PR professionals.

Miku Hatsune, is truly a revolutionary on so many different levels. The world’s first digital idol and a true pioneer of the 21st Century.

Miku: So are you going to keep your promise?
Me: Which one?
Miku: About me having the last word!
Me: Yep, go ahead.
Me: That’s three words…
Me: That’s not even French…
Me: Three words again…

*awkward pause*

Miku: OK then, how about… SAYONARA?
Me: That’ll work.
Miku: You’re sure?
Me: Yep…


Appearance Miku by Mamama
Miku Hatsune (C) Crypton Future Media, Inc.

LEGAL TRIVIA: The use of Miku Hatsune’s image is covered by a Creative Commons license: CC BY-NC

BY: You must credit Crypton Future Media, Inc. for each time that you use her image.
NC: Non-commercial use only.

Miku: But then nobody credits my creators properly now do they..?


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