Today is the "birthday" of Hatsune Miku, the popular Vocaloid singer that has come to represent Japan in the eyes of the world in the same way that Astro Boy and Akira did in previous eras. Miku-chan is a character designed by Crypton Future Media in Sapporo, Hokkaido to promote the Vocaloid voice synthesis software developed by Yamaha, and when the software was released five years ago today it was an instant hit in part thanks to her. While the virtual idol herself was created by popular Japanese artist Kei, Hatsune Miku was warmly embraced by Japan's fan artists, who create breathtakingly beautiful original images which I like to seek out and post to J-List's Facebook and Twitter feeds. Miku has passed through several phases over the years, including her "leek period" (a crossover meme from Bleach) that featured her singing the Finnish folk song "levan Polkka" and the oh-so-gorgeous "Love is War" period, and she's always evolving for us. Recently birthdays of popular anime and other characters have become quite a big event for online otaku culture, with fans baking cakes and planning romantic candlelight dinners with their favorite waifus characters, and I'm sure Japan's 2ch BBS will be inundated with creepygusta images of private birthday celebrations with Miku tomorrow. If you love Miku-chan as we do, J-List has some great Hatsune Miku products to show you, including the just-released PS Vita Hatsune Miku game that has a great "augmented reality" feature that lets Miku dance on your desk (wow).
Happy 5th birthday to Hatsune Miku!