Hatsune Miku sprang to life on this day in 2007 as part of Crypton Future Media’s Vocaloid 2 engine – the speech synthesiser software that allows people to create songs with Hatsune Miku (as well as other Vocaloid characters) providing the vocals. Miku, whose voice is actually sampled from Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita, has continued to be the most recognisable Vocaloid and has built up a considerable fan following in the West.
A lot of Miku’s success is down to the fact that anyone can create a song using her voice, allowing the internet to go wild with concepts and ideas. Japan’s Nico Nico Douga site, which allows users to upload videos, is where Miku has flourished. Her most notable appearance was a rendition of the Finnish song Ievan Polkka featuring Miku twirling a leek (which led to her character always being associated with the vegetable).
Miku has also made the leap to concert performances which were created using a sophisticated projection system. This allowed a ‘hologram’ of Miku to perform before a live audience. In July 2011, Hatsune Miku also made her American concert debut.
To celebrate Hatsune Miku’s birthday, the MIKUBOOK website is letting fans post birthday messages, drawings and videos. There’s also Birthday Miku Bingo with special prizes for some lucky winners.
For our part, here’s a small video selection of Hatsune Miku moments…
Text by Paul Browne
31st August 2012