Virtual pop idol drives men wild

Yoko Ono notwithstanding, Japan's female icons are not noted for their throbbing sensuousness and gritty humanity. Sadako Ogata, for all her good work as the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees, is no Madeleine Albright. The public appearances of Masako Owada, the Crown Princess, are so exaggeratedly demure as to make Princess Diana look like Bet Lynch. But even by these standards, Japan's latest pop star, Kyoko Date (rhymes with "satay") is an exceptionally pristine specimen.

Despite the success of her debut single ("Love Communication"), despite the fan mail from her male fans ("You look so cute on your Internet home page," ran one lust-struck letter), and the success of her CD-Rom, Kyoko lacks several ingredients usually considered essential to pop success. Formally known as DK96, she is a computer animation - a Virtual Totty.

"Most teenage pop idols have their songs written for them, their voices electronically altered and their images pre-packaged," says Ms Date's "manager", Yoshitaka Osawa, "so there's no reason why a computer animation can't do the job." Since its recent release, "Summer of Love" has become one of the most closely-watched singles in the Japanese charts, and TV talk shows and commercials show the buxom starlet strutting (virtually) through New York and Tokyo.

Kyoko's popularity has less to do with the innate appeal of digital women than with a brilliant marketing profile designed to push all the right psycho-social buttons among young Japanese. Made flesh she would be 5ft 4in tall, and a fashionably anorexic 95lb. Her sport of choice is soccer, recently popularised by Japan's nomination as co-host of the 2002 World Cup. Even her name sounds suspiciously like a pastiche, a cunningly calculated chime of the American verb "to date" and the name of Japan's finest female tennis player, the recently retired Kimiko Date.

Sociologists would find plenty to chew on in the fictional biography provided for Kyoko by her creators, the music publishers, Hori Productions. Her father is a sushi vendor, an endearingly working-class profession for a young starlet, and most intriguing, her family home is in a town best known for its proximity to a large US military base.

The pleasures traditionally pursued by young women in such bases are not ones with which squeaky-clean teen idols would traditionally want to be associated, however interactive.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Analyst / Helpdesk Support Analyst

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is the UK's leading ...

Recruitment Genius: Conveyancing Fee Earner / Technical Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Fee Earner/Techn...

Recruitment Genius: Data Administrator

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of this mu...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - £40,000 - £70,000 OTE

£40000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness