Hatsune Miku Recap 2011 (+recap of my Ignite talk)


This video created by Google Japan to promote Chrome is an excellent representation of the value of Hatsune Miku- I love their phrase "Everyone, Creator". (Disclaimer: I work for Google)

I have been posting and speaking a lot about Hatsune Miku in various places including this blog(2008), this blog (2010) and did Ignite at LeWeb'10.

Hatsune Miku is a Desk Top Music software and a character- it started with the "voice" and "picture" created by a company called Crypton Future Media, which generated a huge movement of DIY music, video and art phenomenon. It is one of the series of softwares called "Vocaloid".

I think the highlight of Hatsune Miku for 2011 was that it has gone international :)

Recently Hatsune Miku had been attracting attention from various countries.

LA Weekly "Hatsune Miku: Her Best Fan-Generated Videos"

Miku has also have made a very successful concert in Los Angeles- you can see the highlight video here:

Also, Vocaloid series is constantly evolving- the newest version "Vocaloid 3" which has a much human-like sound- can be listened from the link below.

鳥の詩( Ver.IA(β) )

Following is a recap of my Ignite speech which was one year ago (didn't have time to post this for a year...)

I started my speech by introducing Miku's concert that happened in Japan. At that time, people around the world were interested that Japanese people actually gathers to watch a virtual character to sing- this year, we have seen this happen in Los Angeles and I heard that as many as 5,000 people came to the event ;)

Video of the concert

Press articles of media around the world surprised about a concert of a virtual idol.

The most interesting thing about Hatsune Miku is how it spurred enormous amount of creativity by the users- music, pictures, animations, software, etc.

Users can upload music to various sites such as Piapro:

And some of those user generated songs won #1 of the Japanese weekly CD Sales ranking, and Vocaloid series won #2,4,6,7, 8, 10,11, 15,18 of Karaoke ranking last year.

I was looking at the data this year, and for example the Oricon Blu-ray ranking as of 2011/11/28 (data from 2011/11/14-2011/11/20) #5 was Hatsune Miku. (#1,2,4 are all Harry Potter, #3 is Pirates of the Caribbean)

Much less in Karaoke ranking compared to last year, but still #3, #19 and #21 were Hatsune Miku songs.

I played one of the most popular songs at LeWeb last year- "Miku Miku Ni Shite Ageru"

This song was remixed by many people, and the dots on this chart shows all the remixes- it actually looks like universe!

Many people started drawing illustrations -many of which you can see on Piapro

And of course various 2D animations and 3D animations.

People started creating software too- MikuMikuDance is the most popular one- user generated 3D animation creation software.

Originally it only had one character (Miku) but the different versions allowed users to add different characters, objects and backgrounds, and different models as you can see in the following videos:

MMD started to carry physical engine, and the users can control objects’ weight, friction, spinning speed, speed decay, repulsion, etc. MMD development by the original creator- Yu Higuchi has ended as of October 2011, and MMD's further development is now in the hands of the MMD community.

Then there's the 3D animation and hardware hacking part. This video of "Innocence" started the movement.

You can see this imaginary musical instrument- which stimulated the geeks around Japan to actually create it.

Awesome wall paper made by tripshots

Created that instrument with 3$ display:

Nintendo DS version:

Wii remote version:

Augmented Reality version:

As you can imagine, there are Android app version such as this one and this one :)

At Digital Contents Expo, a bunch of creators gathered to show off their instruments and did a mini live.


I believe the key to the success of Hatsune Miku was its openness- Crypton Future Media could've claimed their rights and prohibited the use of the characters- as many of the contents industry companies does- instead they decided to open up the use of the character Miku, and invited various creators to share, reuse and remix their creativity- which led to a viral effect not just by consumers, but creators, and also made consumers to become creators.

What I really like about the Hatsune Miku community is that they have love and respect with each other, they like other people's work, praise, and build on top of them for the next great thing - and the following was my final slide ;)

Photo CC by Shanissinha_

For those of you who wants to see newer vid, looks like this one is in the ranking now :)

Disclaimer- This blog is a personal blog of Fumi Yamazaki. What I write here reflects my personal opinion, and has nothing to do with my employer.


Half a year after 311

Half a year has passed since the 311 incident. There was a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake, which led to tsunami, fire, landslide, and nuclear power plant accident.

311 was a chance for the media to change their attitudes- for example, NHK (National TV station of Japan) allowed a junior highschool student to livestream their news contents on Ustream, and they ended up livestreaming themselves, too. They also officially uploaded some of the video clips on YouTube which you can see here:

Many citizens shot videos of the tsunami as well- to keep these lessons in mind for the future, I will post some of those clips here:

Tsunami in Oirase



Minami Sanriku


Sendai Airport

A ship of Maritime Safety Agency crossing the tsunami

Fukushima Power Plant explosion

Fukushima nuclear power plant after explosion

There still are people working IN that power plant to cool down and terminate the reactor... video message from them.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer.


Climbing Mt.Fuji

Last weekend I went to climb Mt.Fuji- the highest mountain in Japan for the first time in my life.

Mt. Fuji / 富士山(ふじさん)
Photo CC-BY TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋)

It was an event called "IT Fuji". The event started around 10 years ago with a bunch of researchers with geeky gears climbing Mt.Fuji with lots of sensors and GPS, etc trying to learn how they can utilize IT in the mountains. They played on the mountain with those gadgets so much that recently they've become pretty normal mountain climbers- at least that's what I heard ;) Here are some tips from our trip:

How to get to Mt.Fuji:

Take the "Fujikyu Bus" from Shinjuku station - it takes you directly to Mt.Fuji's 3rd station (3goume) and 5th station (5 goume). Reserve your seat well in advance for early morning buses.

Climbing schedule:

Typically you leave Tokyo in the morning and arrive at 5th station, have lunch and climb up to 8th station where there are lots of lodges and huts. You can eat dinner, take a nap and leave 8th station around 23-1AM to head to the top of the mountain and watch the sunrise. Sunrise from Mt. Fuji is considered very precious and is called Goraikou(御来光) meaning honorable delivery of light. After you reach the top and watch the sunrise, you can either wander at the top - this walk is called Ohachimeguri (お鉢巡り), or you can head back down. Visiting the hot spring -Onsen (温泉) after the climb is highly recommended :D

What to bring:

-backpack, make sure you have waterproof cover (to avoid rain and dust)
-trekking shoes
-warm clothes for the top (it's freezing cold up there even during hot summer)
-light clothes for the bottom (it's hot during summer)
-heat tech T-shirts (clothes that will dry quick is desirable)
-climbing stick
-raincoat (umbrellas won't work)
-headlamp (flashlights won't work)
-money (to buy drinks/snacks and pay for the toilets, coins are better)
-mobile phone (to communicate with your team mates. It fairly works!)
-snacks and drinks (don't bring too much since they will be heavy)
-hat/cap (to avoid sunburn)
-sunscreen (to avoid sunburn)
-medical mask (to avoid the dust)

might be good to have
-Oxygen (I didn't use it at all so I don't know if it's effective but saw lots of people using it)

It was foggy/rainy when we started climbing, but didn't rain that hard.


It was actually raining really hard when we were taking a nap at 8th station, but the sky cleared up when we started climbing at 1AM... we were lucky!

This is a typical lodge. They have sleeping bags that you can take a short nap before heading to the top.


Just before the sunrise, it became so cloudy that we almost thought we'll miss the Goraikou (sunrise)...


Then the sky started to clear up


Sunrise! 御来光!


I think it was rather good that we had some clouds since the reflections were so beautiful :D


You can see the clouds down below. The red object is Torii (鳥居) .


Appendix: One of my colleagues asked me to bring Android figure with me to Mt.Fuji and here is the evidence!


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer.


What can you do with your brain wave?

There's a lot of visualization and applications recently using brain waves.

One of the most popular ones was this one by Ariel Garten, CEO of Interaxon presented at LeWeb2010. You can watch her speech "Thought Controlled Computing" here:

Yes, we were sitting there in the audience watching her brain wave while she talks ;)

What about the Japanese usage of brain waves? There's a bunch of interesting installations, but I'll introduce a cute one here - "Necomimi" by Neurowear project. You wear cat's ear shaped device which would lay down if you are relaxed, stick up if you are concentrated.

Looks like I was concentrated when I tried it this time ;)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer.