How Do The Venusians See The Earth’s Cyberculture?

JAXA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch the venus climate orbiter named “Akatsuki” meaning dawn in Japanese this morning.   It will be launched at 6:58:22 a.m. on Friday in J.S.T. or 21:58:22 p.m. on Thursday in U.T.C.    The scene of the orbiter’s launch will be streamcast live on several major video networks.

Video source: ANN News on YouTube[J]

Meanwhile, the orbiter will also carry three small plates having the pictures of Japanese vocaloid character Hatsune Miku(see these Asiajin stories for her details) illustrated by her 14,000 fans with a collection of their 260,000 messages sent from all around the world.

Promotion video produced for collecting amateur illustration and signatures:

Japanese Red Cross Promotes Blood Donation By Augmented Reality

Digital Signage Consortium's logo Japan Red Cross' Logo

Digital Signage Consortium[J] has set up digital signage devices at Akihabara station and on the streets around there, and is helping Japanese Red Cross to campaign blood donation by using the augmented reality technology.

Digital Signage Picture

The device enables face recognition, and it can count how many people have seen the screen.   When you stop by in front of the device, it shows your appearance overlapped with the popular Vocaloid character Miku Hatsune‘s hair and the Red Cross nurse cap.

In Akihabara, there’s the best-known blood donation facility among geeks, which makes you feel as though you were in a starship.

Virtual Singer Application Vocaloid Played Her First “Live” for 25,000 Fans

One of Japan’s most popular video sharing Nico Nico Douga‘s driving force in its early stage, Miku Hatsune, a virtual girl character attached to a PC application Vocaloid performed her first “live” concert in front of an audience of 25,000 people at an anime event in Saitama prefecture, Japan.

(Someone’s upload this on Youtube, the original seems to be from NicoNico Douga because it has distinctive flowing comments overlayed)

She “played” two of her popular songs with her band, which is real.

Vocaloid is an application to let computer sing (voice synthesis) on melody you set. Miku Hatsune is its one version with a female voice actor, and known by used on a lot of music/video mash-up on Nico Nico Douga movies. Users can “train” how it (or she?) sings so each Miku Hatsune could sing differently.

I am now totally confused what “live” is, but another recent feverish music phenomenon, a girls techno unit Perfume was well known by their lip-syncing live, which no one minded.

Japan has a long history of virtual idol started by Kyoko Date since 1996. 13 years after her finally one can create a sensation with a big stadium full of people.

We recently covered another Miku Hatsune news around a parody song she (actually the software) sings.

(proofread by Sean O’Hagan)

See Also:

Asahi.com tries to explain Miku Hatsune boom on YouTube – you may turn on English subtitle on YouTube

Miku Hatsune and Techno Design Exhibition 8/26 – 9/17 at Shibuya Parco [J]

Another concert by Nico Nico Douga is to go on 8/31 at Tokyo Waterfront [J] – incidentally the last day of the Odaiba Gundam Statue

UGC Song Parody: Freedom Of Expression Or Libeling Her?

Aoi Usagi by Noriko Sakai

Noriko Sakai, who used to be a popular J-pop idol in late 1980s and is now an actress starring on several TV commercial films, was arrested on a suspicion of possessing illegal stimulants last weekend.   She has an enormous number of her fans in Asian nations, especially Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and several Beijing-based news portal sites are filled with her pictures, articles on this case and comments from Internet users.

Despite the record company, which has released her songs, is now calling in her CD albums/singles from music storefronts (announcement by Victor Entertainment[J]), her best hit song titled “a blue hare (aoi usagi)” momentarily marked the 1st rank in counting of downloaded items at iTunes Store, for the first time in a long time since her previous hit.  (A few days after marking the good number, all electronic song distributors, including iTune Store and ringtone content providers, completely withdrew her all songs from their lists.)

This week, some people composed an ironical and parody song named “a white drug (shiroi kusuri)” after her best hit, and some patterns of the music videos filming a virtual singing performance by vocaloid “Miku Hatsune[J]“, a vocal synthesizer developed by Sapporo-based music/sound software company Crypton Future Media[J], were uploaded to video sharing site Nico Nico Douga[J].   Totally these videos have been viewed more than 200,000 times in the last three days.

On Thursday, reportedly Nico Nico removed the videos in accordance with a request by Crypton, and Crypton said that it did so since the videos contained lyrics which might libel a specific person and a result of Crypton’s product.   (Basically Crypton permits any users of the vocaloid software to create any type of works derived from it, and you need not to worry about possible copyright conflict when you publish the works on the Internet.)

A well-known Internet tycoon and the managing director for NicoNico Douga, Hiroyuki Nishimura says on his blog[J],

I can’t find which part of Crypton’s rights have been violated by the uploaded videos.   If any items that Crypton hates had removed without sufficient reason nor the users’ understanding, they could be nastier than JASRAC (the country’s copyright administrating authority).

Author’s note: JASRAC has been often accused by Japanese UGC (user-generated content) site owners because the organization has requested the owners to remove items from their sites without presenting sufficient explanation.   This week’s video removal case could be more acceptable for Internet users if it had been executed based not on Crypton’s request but on Nico Nico’s well-considered judgment.   The video was already copied onto YouTube, and we have no idea whether YouTube has been requested to remove it by Crypton.    Because of no specific name found in the animation and the lyrics, generally speaking, no third-party will have the privilege to compel its removal.

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August 18th Update:

On Monday, Nico Nico Douga set the video back on the site because Nico Nico learned Crypton’s removal request had no legal basis.   For successful compromise, NicoNico requested the removal to the person who had uploaded the video.