Pinpointing Miku’s Success: Miku the Barbarian

I think this “repetitive stating the same obvious thing I’ve stated before” post is brought to you by the tragic loss of Tomoko Kawakami. Seeking solace in making something out of the obvious, stating it over and over again, as if it would make it true(r), is not too far from wishing something bad would not have had happened. At least this wasn’t something very sudden unlike this other dude cancer claimed not too long ago.

Taking a Han-centric view of historic China, when the Mongolians invaded (time and again), as they’re known to do from time to time, the Chinese built walls. Great walls, by all means. It didn’t do much good in the long run, and it’s probably hailed more so as a human tragedy over any sort of engineering marvel (well, it was one still) that it has now become. But it was a sign of civilization’s progress. In Sid Meier’s world, it kept barbarians away. [It took the Qing to finally put Mongolians to rest once and for all, until when the Soviets got involved.]

Now they’re knocking at the gate in the latest Japanese invasion. Instead of hairy horde of horsemen, it’s digital media made overseas, riding on vacuum tubes or underwater optical cables or whatever. Instead of quivering Chinese magistrates, it’s the masses that makes up the largest consumer nation in the world. What holds them back is this “Japanamerica” nonsense: culturally, America does not compute Japan, except there’s this weird cyclic, Lazy Susan-ish overlapping interests, fandoms, and fans. If the nomadic Mongolians hailed from the untamed steppes of central Asia, then Miku’s horde launch attacks from the uncharted reaches of the internet. Well, figuratively uncharted (as in charted only in a GPS sense).

I wrote about Miku’s ability to enable creative people before. What I’ve just rephrased is part 1.5 or 2.5, the practical, shorter version of the same thing. It’s a “you” generation icon. (It’s another reason why it is popular!) But instead of the money it takes to produce one of these other bands that have done it before, we have an off-the-shelf solution that is really easy to do and only cost a couple hundred bucks. After all, the varying Mongol hordesmen are just ordinary dudes, no different than any of us. I think.

And there is still a part 3 to this. Soon, hopefully.

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