"THE HEROINE OF THE NEW AGE."
By CHRISTINA CARON (@cdcaron)
June 25, 2011 - abcnews.go.com
It's no secret that Aimi Eguchi is beautiful and talented.
But human? Not exactly.
She made headlines in the blogosphere after she was introduced earlier this month as the newest addition to the popular Japanese singing group AKB48.
This week, however, her true identity was revealed when Glico, a Japanese candy company that had featured her in an ad, posted a video on its website showing how Eguchi had been created using the eyebrows, nose, lips and mouth of other girls.
Her face was moulded from the features of six AKB48 members; a seventh girl provided Eguchi's voice.
AKB48 even went so far as to create a profile for Eguchi on their website, which says she was born in 1995 and is from Saitama, near Tokyo.
There are currently 77 members in the "idol group," each featured on the AKB48 website with a saccharine smile. Nearly every day AKB48 performs in the group's theater in Tokyo, and they star in several TV programs, including "AKBINGO!" and "Naruhodo High School."
Eguchi was introduced by the group this month as AKB48 "trainee." In the video, although her facial features move as she sings, her eyes remain expressionless. In still pictures, however, the composite could have fooled anyone.
The group's producer and founder, Yasushi Akimoto, reportedly raved about Eguchi, saying she would be "the heroine of the new age."
Fans began speculating about her last week when the mysterious new pop star suddenly appeared on the cover of the Japanese magazine Weekly Playboy.
TokyoHive, a Japanese culture blog, reported that "everyone" was eager to check out the pictures "in order to find out all the secrets behind her beauty."
But some bloggers noted Eguchi resembled other members of the group. And fans' suspicions grew after Eguchi was also chosen to star in a Glico ad for a candy called Aisu no Mi, and TokyoHive also reported AKB48 singer Oshima Yuko posted a picture on her blog with black dots on her face, the same ones it turns out, that were used to create the Eguchi image. "The shoot has finished," Yuko wrote on her blog. "It took a long time, but I was by myself so I was able to stay nonchalant. And in the end I turned out looking like this."
Typically, new AKB48 members don't get that kind of publicity. And that was exactly the point.
As people speculated about Eguchi's sudden rise to fame and her unusually good looks, Glico stayed in the press, and so did AKB48.
The Japanese have fallen in love with virtual pop stars in the past, such as Hatsune Miku, a girl with aqua pigtails created in 2007. Her holographic image will appear at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, Calif., next week, where music software will enable her to "sing."(more below).
But when it comes to Aimi Eguchi, fans have yet to decide if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Posted on 06/23/2011
By Elizabeth Flock – Washington Post
In the latest move of Japanese pop toward virtual or fictional stars, the newest addition to a Japanese girl group with millions of superfans turns out not to be real.
Aimi Eguchi starred in a candy commercial soon after joining the group AKB48, showing off perfectly coiffed hair, proportional features, and touting the candy in a sickly sweet voice.
AKB48’s fans were immediately suspicious. Every year, fans vote which of the group’s members are the most popular, and usually only the most popular girls star in the commercials. According to Eguchi’s bio, which detailed her age, hometown, and hobbies, she was just a lowly “research student.” Was it possible Eguchi didn’t even exist?
Soon after the candy company Ezaki Glico aired the commercial, it admitted that Aimi Eguchi was just a computer-generated mash-up of the best characteristics of several other members of the band.
AKB48’s management company initially tried to defend Eguchi’s humanness, saying, “She’s real! She didn’t take the 12th generation auditions, so we had to quickly accept her (into generation 12.5)”
Eguchi is another example of J-pop’s trend toward virtual or fictional pop stars.
The wildly popular hologram pop star, Hatsune Miku, plays sold-out concerts across the country to screaming fans waving glowsticks. (More below)
The fictional all female band Ho-kago Tea Time — featured in the anime series “K-On!” — released an album in 2009, which debuted at No. 1 on the weekly charts.
Aimi Eguchi is the first virtual member of AKB48, which is a theater-based group that has its own theater in the Akihabara district in Tokyo. The letters AKB in the group’s name are derived from the district name. AKB48 is said to currently hold the Guinness World Record for being the pop group with the greatest number of members, which fluctuates but is usually around 48.
Hatsune Miku: Japanese HOLOGRAPH Plays Sold Out Concerts; Science Fiction Comes To Life (VIDEO)
The wildly popular hologram pop star, Hatsune Miku, plays sold-out concerts across the country to screaming fans waving glowsticks.
The Huffington Post
Nicholas Graham Posted: 11/11/10
In what is surely a terrible omen not only for musicians but also the continued existence of the world as we know it, holographs are now playing sold out concerts in, where else, Japan.
Holographic idol Hatsune Miku is the creation of the group Crypton Future Media, using software from Vocaloid, and the group has put the avatar on tour with a live band. The sight of thousands of screaming fans waving glow sticks while the the holograph "performs" on stage is straight out of a science fiction novel.
The avatar is huge and incredibly realistic.