Tokushima: Virtual Idol Hatsune Miku Joins Live Dancers in Awa Odori

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A student performs the Awa Odori dance with Hatsune Miku, left, during a video demonstrating the AR Awa Odori technology in Tokushima.

TOKUSHIMA — Digital technology that allows people to perform the Awa Odori dance alongside virtual idols has been developed by Tokushima University and other institutions in Tokushima City.

Tetsuya Yamamoto, an associate professor in the Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, worked with Ito En Ltd.’s Central Research Institute in Shizuoka Prefecture to develop the technology in a bid to enhance the appeal of Awa Odori, one of the most famous Bon Festival dances in the country.

The technology uses augmented reality (AR) to create a three-dimensional image. Multiple projectors project images from different angles onto a transparent screen set up in front of the dancers.

The university unveiled the technology at a press conference on Feb. 28. A video of a student performing the dance with Hatsune Miku, a popular virtual idol, was also shown.

The technology can also be used to create a variety of lighting effects, such as a flurry of cherry blossoms and large glowing hearts floating around the dancers.

The university, which named the technology AR Awa Odori, has plans to promote its use at events both on and off campus.

“We’d like to promote our traditional culture to the world by having Awa Odori collaborate with popular characters,” Yamamoto said.