Japan's latest pop stars: androids and animations

Pop divas Eguchi Aimi and Hatsune Miku have throngs of fans across Japan, an impressive feat considering both singers are computer generated. They lead a growing trend in Japan of artificial stars seizing the spotlight. Here are videos of some of the most popular. Look for "Uncanny Valley: Will we ever learn to live with artificial humans?" – the Monitor's full story on what these fabricated 'humans' tell us about real ones.

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Hatsune Miku

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    Digital animation singer Hatsune Miku performs before fans in Tokyo last March. Miku has millions of smitten fans, a string of top hits, and an image entirely unblemished by drug use, scandals, or celebrity meltdowns.
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With cyan pigtails down to her ankles and eyes wider than her fists, Hatsune Miku is undeniably a cartoon. Nonetheless, “she” performs for stadiums of ecstatic fans across Japan – and even a show in Los Angeles this summer.

Miku sings and dances on stage as a hologram. Her moves and appearance come carefully crafted by marketers, but her voice is available for hire. Crypton Future Media sells home software that allows anyone to write songs for Miku to sing. The voice is based on a real singer, then modulated by Yamaha’s Vocaloid software to make each word hit the right note.

Miku (or at least Crypton) even released a No. 1 single last year and appeared in a Toyota commercial.

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