Header Ads

Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France

“Little Hatsune Miku is singing!” Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France, 4 days of enthusiasm. She also announced to perform at an event in Madrid, Spain in October!

Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France
On Thursday, July 14, JAPAN EXPO Paris 2022, one of the world's largest Japanese culture festivals, was held in Paris, France, for the first time in three years after COVID-19 disaster. More than 250,000 people attended the four-day event, exceeding initial expectations, and despite the fact that the number of people infected by COVID-19 is far greater than in Japan, there were only a few people wearing masks in Paris and at the JAPAN EXPO, indicating that the entertainment industry is making a comeback ahead of Japan.

At the Japan Expo, a Japanese singer gave her first live performance to an audience. She is Singing Cosplayer Hikari, an international singer who covers J-POP songs, especially anime songs and vocaloid songs.

Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France

Here is a chronological report of the four days of the event.

[ Day 1: Thursday, July 14 ] - Day 1 of the JAPAN EXPO

Even though it was Thursday morning, there was a long line at the entrance of JAPAN EXPO. As I moved around to check the location of the stages in the venue, I found Singing Cosplayer Hikari's photo and name on a sign board hanging from the ceiling of the venue. She was the only one of the performers to be treated this way, and her face and name were to be seen throughout the venue.

She performed on the TSUBAME stage, which was slightly smaller than the YUZU stage where miwa performed, and located at the far end of the venue. Therefore, only a few dozen people had gathered for the other artists' performances on the TSUBAME Stage in the morning. However, perhaps the release of the set list three days prior to the event helped, as many as 300 people had already gathered 15 minutes prior to the start of the show.

It is hard to believe that an event of this scale would be held in Japan, but there are no rehearsals on the music stage at the JAPAN EXPO. The only sound check is done during the changeover right before the live performance. During the sound check, Singing Cosplayer Hikari appeared for the first time in front of the French audience in a grape-patterned yukata by the Japanese kimono brand ‘Furifu’, and was greeted with loud cheers.

Then the music started to play. The song chosen for the sound check was “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis" by Yoko Takahashi, the first song from the TV animation "Neon Genesis Evangelion”. When she began to sing, the cheers turned to screams. The song is one of the most popular anime songs in France. Her voice drew so much attention that even visitors walking in the distance came running to the stage, and a crowd of over 500 people gathered in front of the stage.

After the sound check, the show finally began. After two songs, "A Cruel Angel’s Thesis" and "Soul’s Refrain",  it was time for Singing Cosplayer Hikari's first stage banter. She herself spoke in French.

The other Japanese artists were doing their stage banter in Japanese through a French interpreter. However, she performed all of her three solo stage banters in French during the three days of the JAPAN EXPO. Except for an impromptu "shout-out," she never used Japanese.

Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France
Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France
Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France

She neither understands nor speaks French. She thought, "I want to convey my thoughts and feelings to the French audience in French”. So she had been training in French pronunciation lessons for several months, and performed French stage banters along with her songs.

The third song she performed after her stage banter was "The Everlasting Guilty Crown" by EGOIST from the TV anime "Guilty Crown”. This song was chosen not because it was for France, but because she wanted to sing a song that she loves and that French people would not have to know.

However, at her autograph signing session, which was held every day for four days, and where long lines continued to form, what many of the French and other European audience members said to her then was, "The Everlasting Guilty Crown was great.". She also said in an interview with French media that this was the most impressive event of this JAPAN EXPO.

The fourth song was "Monster(Kaibutsu)" by YOASOBI. In France, it is said that the TV animation "BEASTARS" is very popular, and many people became fans of YOASOBI because of the song "Monster" from this animation.

After another stage banter in French, the intro of Mrs. GREEN APPLE's "Inferno" from the TV anime "Fire Force" began to play for the fifth song, and the cheers of the audience, which had swelled to about 800 people, grew even louder. The song, which she had prepared for the JAPAN EXPO and which had been made available for music and video distribution worldwide, including France and Japan, on July 12 just prior to the event, was no less enthusiastic than "A Cruel Angel’s Thesis".

After the third French stage banter, the last song was "Yume To Hazakura", a cover version of which she released in April 2021, and whose music video has been viewed 2.54 million times on YouTube; it has reached #1 on the Apple Music and iTunes J-Pop charts in 14 countries and the song has also reached #1 on the daily Apple Music J-Pop chart in France five times. Her debut in France, the first live performance in front of an audience, was a great success. After the concert, a long line of new fans from France and all over Europe lined up for the autograph session, who would later come to see her on all four stages over the next three days.

In fact, an opening party was held at the venue that evening by the event organizers, performers, and related parties. She wore a conspicuous Alice-patterned school uniform by “LucyPop”, a Japanese school uniform brand popular not only in Japan but also abroad, and was approached by many local influencers, who uploaded photos of her on their social networking sites. She was especially excited to meet a local influencer who is a singer, and they showed each other videos of the French version of anime songs sung by him and the Japanese version of anime song covers sung by her.

[ Day 2: Friday, July 15 ]

Then came Friday, July 15, the second day of the JAPAN EXPO. Since Friday is usually the least crowded day at JAPAN EXPO, this year the admission fee was reduced on this day only, and the number of visitors on this day far exceeded that of the first day.

JAPAN EXPO is an event that introduces Japanese culture in various forms, including talk sessions with manga artists, animators, and voice actors, sales of anime goods such as figures, manga and anime-style portrait illustrations by illustrators, martial arts demonstrations, sword fighting demonstrations, and introduction of Japanese food, but the most popular content is cosplay. Not only popular cosplayers from around the world who appear on stage, but also the general public, the entire event is a big cosplay competition.

Singing Cosplayer Hikari is often referred to as a cosplayer because of her name, but she has absolutely no cosplay experience and is a cosplay novice who just started cosplaying when she started her singing career on New Year's Day, 2021. She has never performed at a cosplay event in Japan, and this is the second time she has participated in a similar event, HYPER JAPAN ONLINE 2021, in the U.K. last July, as both a singer and cosplayer, just as she did at the JAPAN EXPO this time.

This time, she was dressed as Hatsune Miku in the "Senbonzakura" costume, as she had done at HYPER JAPAN ONLINE 2021. The wigs were created by shotac, a leading wig maker that has also created wigs for popular Japanese cosplayer ‘Enako’. The day after her first live performance in her life, she performed on the KITSUNE stage, which has a capacity of 3,000 people. She wondered if the audience would come to such a large venue. Despite her concern, about 1,500 audience members gathered before the concert time, even though the concert started at 10:45 in the morning. In the center section from the front row, there were about 500 people, mostly fans who had been attracted to her at the 1st stage the day before, in addition to several dozen fans who had originally known her through YouTube and other social networking sites. Then, about 1,000 people gathered around her, including "visitor cosplayers" and "visitors interested in cosplay," who were stationed in the audience at the cosplay stage. In total, there were about 1,500 spectators in attendance.

During the sound check, when she appeared in her "Senbonzakura" Hatsune Miku costume and began to sing "Senbonzakura," the approximately 1,000 visitor cosplayers around her began to buzz.

The director of "MUTEKI",a popular program on the French terrestrial radio station Radio Canut later told her about this moment during an interview, and it seems that after this moment, the 154cm tall and slender Singing Cosplayer Hikari was called "Little Hatsune Miku” by French cosplayers. They said, "Little Hatsune Miku is performing a Vocaloid song live. And her voice is so sute! Come to the KITSUNE stage now!” They called their cosplay friends and  the KITSUNE stage was crowded with people.

The first song was "Senbonzakura," which matched their cosplay costumes, and was greeted with cheers as it is the most well-known Vocaloid song in France.

After the same French-language stage banter as the previous day, the second and third songs were "Phony" and "Marshall Maximizer," which are relatively new among her cover songs, although she was not sure about their popularity in France. Many of the influencers she met at the opening party of the event were TikTokers, and there seemed to be many TikTok users in France as well, and these two songs, which were popular on TikTok in Japan, seemed to be well known in France as well, continuing the excitement of the event.

After the second French stage banter, she performed "Yorunaderu Menou," a song written by Ayase from YOASOBI, which is one of her favorite Vocaloid songs, along with "Yume To Hazakura". After that day when she performed the song, her cover version of this song began to chart on Apple Music France's J-Pop top music video chart.

After that, in France, where the weather was as hot as in Japan, "Little Hatsune Miku" sang the Japanese summer vocaloid songs "Fire Flower" and " When the Morning Glory Falls" with her music videos of her singing while wearing "Mimatsu" and "Furifu" yukata in the background. The crowd continued to grow, swelling to about 3,000 people. The final song of the day was "Yume To Hazakura" , and she proudly performed her second live show of her life in front of 3,000 audience members. During the final stage banter, she announced in French that she would be selling ribbons and ties matching her own LucyPop school uniform costume the next day at the sales booth.

At this post-show merchandising booth, a young girl in early teens appeared with her father; Singing Cosplayer Hikari spoke to her through an interpreter and told her that she had known Hikari for a while and listened to her cover songs on Spotify every day. She was so excited that she begs her father for a ribbon matching Hikari's! He begs, "No, it's a little expensive. The exchange continues. Finally, with a slight discount, Her father buys a LucyPop ribbon for her.

Certainly, data showed that many French people were watching her videos and listening to her cover songs on YouTube and Spotify, but Singing Cosplayer Hikari herself felt a real sense of "This is the girl!" and began to feel a sense of confidence in her further international activities in the future.

Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France
Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France

[ Day 3: July 16 (Saturday) ]

Saturday, July 16, the third day of the JAPAN EXPO. More visitors filled the venue than on the previous day.

About 800 people, far more than on the first day, packed the front of the TSUBAME stage from 1:15 p.m., and in the front row was a girl wearing a matching LucyPop ribbon with her.

The main image used on the approximately 1,000 flyers distributed at the signing and merchandising booths and the schedule image posted on SNS was LucyPop's uniform for this day, and the mere appearance of her on stage was met with loud cheers.

The first song was "This game" by Konomi Suzuki from the TV anime "No Game, No Life. The voltage rose quickly from the start, and a cover version of this song by Singing Cosplayer Hikari began to rank in the Apple Music French Anime Song Top Music Video Chart.

Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France
Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France
Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France

After the first French stage banter, they performed "Inferno" and "Monster," the same songs as the first day, followed by "Yorunaderu Menou," the same song as the second day, and then "Ai Oboete Imasuka" sung by Mari Iijima aka Lynn Minmei in the TV animation "The Super Dimension Fortress Macross”. The song is about the memories of a lost culture in the war in the anime, which both friend and foe recall with the singing voice of this song.

Immediately after the start of the Ukrainian conflict, Singing Cosplayer Hikari's "Yume To Hazakura" was ranked No. 1 on Apple Music Ukraine's J-Pop Top Music Video Chart on a daily basis for more than 15 consecutive days, and she hastily decided to release the music video of “Ai Oboete Imasuka” on YouTube. In addition to Japanese, English, and French, the video was released with lyrics translation subtitles in Ukrainian and Russian, and overwhelmingly, the video was played in Ukrainian and Russian subtitled environments.

She came to France from Japan after a 15-hour flight to avoid war zones, and sang for peace in Europe and the world, where conflicts still continue in close proximity.

After the song, she made an important announcement during her stage banter. “This stage will be my last solo performance in France. Do you miss me!" She called out in French, "I'm going to miss you!” The audience cheered.

“I am happy to announce that on October 1st and 2nd, I will be performing at an event called ‘Otaku Party’ in Madrid, Spain. Please come down to Spain to see me!” When she made the announcement, the audience, who had already become her devoted fans over the past three days and were stationed in the center from the front of the stage, erupted in cheers.

Having experienced a great response from her trip to France, Singing Cosplayer Hikari announced her second overseas live performance in just three months' time. Not only the JAPAN EXPO visitors from Spain, but also many French fans are expected to rush to Spain.

In addition, Yohei Onishi, co-host of "ANIME SONGS PARTY!", an anime songs session program hosted by Singing Cosplayer Hikari, appeared on stage here (radio on air on Nippon cultural Broadcasting in Japan and the YouTube channel of Manga News in France).

Singing Cosplayer Hikari performed with Yohei Onishi the distributed hit song "Muscle Please!" which was released in January 2022 in collaboration with Nakayama Kinni-kun and already has over 1.5 million streaming views. The performance ended on a high note with a side chest pose and a dance she devised the choreography for.

Another drama occurred backstage after this stage: Singing Cosplayer Hikari released Linked Horizon's "Shinzou wo Sasageyo!" and "Guren no Yumiya" from the TV anime "Attack on Tiatan" and is popular among international viewers. The French Livai, a French performer and cosplayer at JAPAN EXPO, was so impressed with this song and music video and sent the message beforehand. And they exchanged messages “We hope to see you at JAPAN EXPO.". She found him backsatage and said "You look just like your instagram! The French Livai!!”. And they were lucky enough to meet. Coincidentally, he and she were on the TSUBAME stage in succession, and they were able to see the satage of both of them.

Exactly one hour later, on the same TSUBAME stage, the "ANIME SONGS PARTY!" stage began, the last live performance for her in France. Yohei Onishi began his solo performance with two songs: "CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA" by Hironobu Kageyama from the TV anime "Dragon Ball Z" and "Pegasus Fantasy" by MAKE-UP from the TV anime "Saint Seiya". The following third song was not a cover, but a song by Yohei Onishi's band Miracle Chimpanzee, who sang the opening theme song, "Mabataki" from the TV anime "Sasaki to Miyano" with their elongated high tone vocals.

Singing Cosplayer Hikari took the stage for the fourth song, and like "Monster," the two began singing together "Yasashii Suisei" by YOASOBI, a song from the TV anime "BEASTERS”. As they began to sing the following fifth song, Ikimonogakari’s "Blue Bird" from the TV anime "Naruto Shippuden," the audience began to sing in chorus, accelerating the excitement of the audience.

The stage was also joined by Enzo Ratsito, a French voice actor dubbed for the French version of the role of Kamado Tanjiro in the TV anime "Demon Slayer" and the three on stage began to sing. The audience's voltage reached the highest when they performed "Silhouette" by KANA-BOON, the 16th opening song of the TV anime "Naruto Shippuden," which was released on July 10. At the end of this stage, Singing Cosplayer Hikari and Yohei Onishi also announced that they would perform at the World Cosplay Summit 2022 -20th Anniversary-, one of the world's largest cosplay events, to be held in Nagoya, Japan, on August 6 (Saturday). Then, a sigh escaped the French cosplayers when they heard the name of their coveted event.

[ Day 4: July 17 (Sunday) ]

On Sunday, July 17, the last day of the JAPAN EXPO, only Singing Cosplayer Hikari's autograph session and product sales took place. Although there was no live performance, the venue was packed with fans from France and other European countries who came to say goodbye to her.

She seemed to have done a bit of sightseeing in Paris in her Paris-inspired brown LucyPop school uniform that she wore at the signing session. Please take note of the photos taken with the Eiffel Tower and cafes in the background.

Singing Cosplayer Hikari also attracted a great deal of attention at this year's JAPAN EXPO as "the only Japanese performer who did all her stage banter in French”. The attention from French media and influencers has been very high, and she has received more interviews than originally planned, which should be published as articles in due course.

She has also received a number of collaboration requests from French influencers, and we look forward to future developments. The European success of Singing Cosplayer Hikari, nicknamed "The little Hatsune Miku" is expected to accelerate in the run-up to the Otaku Party to be held in Madrid, Spain, on October 1-2.

Singing Cosplayer Hikari Important and Key Links and Social Media Channels

Singing Cosplayer Hikari at JAPAN EXPO in France

< Link to Singing Cosplayer Hikari's 16 cover music distribution >

< Singing Cosplayer Hikari SNS information >


David Shen D'Angelo

No comments

Powered by Blogger.