Hatsune and Kyary in Tokyo

Whilst in Japan I tried to take a photo of anything Hatsune Miku related I saw, just to document her dominance in Japan and get first hand research for my interchangeable looks idea. I soon realised photographing everything was unrealistic, I tried my best but this is a tiny percentage of the Miku stuff around Japan, not including her official merchandise inside shops. Note that these images are from all districts, even the expensive Chelsea-like district of Shibuya.

I attempted to take photos of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s presense in Japan too, but this was nearly impossible. She was on the trains, in the shops on the streets on the TV on the billboards. Everywhere there was a place for advertisement or any pop culture areas she was everywhere.

What I oped to achieve with this research was to prove that pop culture icons change their looks to fit consumerism. They become what they are needed to be rarely wearing the same thing twice, they are what the advertisers want and what the consumer needs them to be.

Interchangable Icons

On project reflection I’ve started looking at character development. I felt as though my project was missing something so going back over my research and past projects one theme jumped out at me. Popular culture iconography and the adaptable/ interchangeable nature of transmedia pop icons. Below are the three biggest examples interchangeable icons and unsurprisingly they are all based in Japan.

Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku is a Japanese computer generated pop star. She is the perfect example of a transmedia pop culture icon. Even the use of calling her she, proves just how integrated she is into my world as a real icon. Essentialy Hatsune Miku is a piece of software developed by Crypton Future Media. Everything about her is computer generated, her voice her image and her character. Unlike I first assumed when I saw her she is not voiced by a real person, her essence is the software that created her. She is a millionaire virtual pop icon, and her rein transcends into every platform, music, film, advertising, toys, food, clothes. In regards to this project I call her an interchangable icon. Like a doll her clothes are changed to fit the product, she is plastered on advertisements and products from cars to pizza boxes.

Hatsune Miku’s iconic hair is her recognisable atribute, sometimes it may change colour for a product or a theme but it always remains in the same style.

Hello Kitty

The 60’s version of Hatsune Miku, she is still a global icon today but could be seen as a bit too traditional in comparison to Miku. A different version of a virtual character, she is an icon in her own right and again an interchangeable icon.

Kitty’s face is her recognisable point, it’s key to have something familiar in every adaption so the audience can relate back to the character.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

So what about a real life Interchangeable icon? Keeping in theme with our Japanese girls I present you Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, pop star and trend setter in Japan.

So why Interchangeable?  I use the term interchangeable because it reminds me of the dolls I used to have when I was little, for example you would buy a barbie but she would then have interchangeable outfits, maybe one to make her a rock star another to make her a princess. The interchangeable nature is all about power over the character, you (or companies) control what they look like but only to some extent because you still had to buy into the extensions packs.

 

Cosplay Showcase by Nobutsugu Sugiyama

Cosplay photos often have a sexual bias. Photographer Nobutsugu Sugiyama has endeavoured to remove this bias and elevated Cosplay to a form of artistic and creative expression by the use of high-end photo-editing techniques. Conventional methods of shooting a model usually demand expressing their individual natures. However,Sugiyama has removed this individual interiority and focused on just the outline of the character. Resembling an anime-figurine,cosplayers are perfectly placed in a virtual showcase in this application.

http://www.nsp-jp.com/cosplayshowcase/index_eng.html