Information-Age Idol: Aimi Eguchi

Cute Aimi Eguchi (above) is a member of the Japanese girl group AKB48. She’s also a computer product, completely digital. The cybersongstress was created by sampling the attributes and actions of other singers in the group, synthesizing “Aimi,” then uploaded the result to the adoring public, who regarded her as another aidoru (アイドル), a pop idol. Now they know she’s a digital diva, but they dig it.

Producer Yasushi Akimoto created the pop group AKB 48 in 2005, making “idols” of “girls next-door.” Plenty of girls, 61 in all: 18 members on Team A, 18 on Team K, 18 on Team B, and 23 trainees. The human girls are interchangeable parts; frankly, they might as well be digital too.

Computer-generated pop stars, “CG idols,” have been around for over a decade in Japan, so that explains why fans are taking it so well. And in a society with millions passionate otaku fans of anime characters, distinctions are somewhat blurred. Come to think of it, most fans of human celebrities never meet the idols whose personae they adore either, encountering them chiefly as pixels on screens, images like Aimi.

You may have read about digital divas in the 1997 novel Idoru. It was written by William Gibson, who coined the word “cyberspace” way back in 1982, long before the non-animated members of AKB 48 were born.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p6sb6-awc


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