Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kawaii ! It exists inside Second Life too!

Written by Liza Veliz (aka NineIZ)

I'm totally sugar bombed inside out. I have been hanging with Kawaii Dolls™ for a few days.
I've been to the fairy land of cuteness. Never seen anything like it before!

Here is a video from the night I first met them.
and yes, it is me is dancing in the audience with that long black hair floating around.

Maeda is the cutest thing I've ever seen inside of Second Life™!

My first view of Maeda Aiko. She was the cutest I had ever seen. It is the girl in white.(See picture above).

First time I came in contact with this culture was by finding the book Kawaii by Marita Lindqvist™,
of which its cover were like a sort of candy all over. Little bubbly cute stickers on it and in pastel pink.
That book covered Japanese pop culture and was about boy bands, but also a lot about the female fans.

Marita Lindqvist's book cover of Kawaii. My first contact with Kawaii. Photo: NineIZ

Kawaii is not entirely a teenage phenomena in Japan, it's aesthetics of design is even used by the
military for information material and in all sorts of other public media marketing.

Well, it is one thing to read about this and totally another to be part of this for real.
Maeda Aiko – aiko.torii in Second Life - (or Acchan as she is nick named) is the one who founded
Kawaii Dolls inside Second Life. It all started 2 years ago, Maeda heard about this world, made
an avatar and put up a Facebook page as she had an idea to make a Second Life career shot at the
same she had experiences of in RL. Then she forgot about this for a while till she started notice she
actually got Kawaii Dolls friends on her FB site.

Kaa Boom! Or maybe I should say Kawaii! The story started. That was one year ago and they
made success. Members come and go, but they keep growing.

− I met someone to work together with and we got the ball rolling again, Maeda tells me when
we meet at the lounge of Pink Velvet in Tokyo of Shubaya sim.

Here we are hanging under a bridge after the interview before the club night. You see the Pink
Velvet lounge in the background.

Me interviewing some of the Kawaii Dolls at the lounge of Velvet Pink. Me, Vivi, Maeda and

Pink Velvet is their own club in this world in their sim Shin Shubuya. It is in Tokyo region which is
a gathering place for fans of the Japanese culture. Here the girls hang in the streets as any teenagers
and sometimes dance at a street corner.

The Kawaii Dolls dancing at a street corner of their Second Life Tokyo.

The Kawaii Dolls, or KWD as they also are called, is an idol project. In Japan there are many kids
who wishes to become famous and they are all teenagers. When you get too old your chance is
gone. This is the reason they involve in Second Life to get another chance. In Second Life they can
be teenagers for ever.
This project goes RL also. The plan is to become famous in real as well as virtual. And to give each
member a chance to become an idol. Same as it happens in Japan for real. Their videos from Second
Life are shown at different events in RL, latest in Nice. The carnival you saw in the video at the top
of this article was shoot to be shown at a real convent for fans in Nice. It is from the Cyber Carnival
of Nice on Moya Island. Moya Patrick is a RL modern artist that used to do art in Japan, in Shibuya
especially, but now is an artist in France famous for his love for virtual environment.

The Second Life fans of Japanese Kawaii culture are all over the world and Maeda Aiko gathers
them within her international project by Facebook™ and Second Life.
− I want a second chance but I also want to share this chance with others. To have a family
is important and we are family, she explains. What we have in common is the interest for
Kawaii and Japanese culture.

− Future plans is to involve a vote system, same as exists in RL. Whoever get most votes
become famous. This is a secret so far, but soon we will start a vote system at our shows,
Maeda tells me in confident voice.

Then she tells me that kawaii is not always happy candy and recommend me to listen the lyrics of
the Japanese group AKB48.

− My name is no hazard, AKB48 are the reason my name is Maeda, she explains. KWD want
to be the AKB48 of the virtual universes.
The girls of KWD also sings for real in the shows, mostly karaoke style but also using their own material. So there is a chance here to listen the music of Maeda Aiko when go see them or check
their videos.
After the interview all gets crazy, tp's are raining as everyone wants to get ready for the evening
clubbing, and I get lost. Think of trying take that tuk-tuk outside but it throws me out.

The tuk-tuk outside the Pink Velvet.
Then they come back from their tp's and get me.

One of their male friends offers a ride and me and Ema take this. I get a grand tour of Tokyo.
In middle of the ride Ema ditches me by TP as she is the DJ of tonight’s club and the guy drives me
into death. Yeah, Wild night. Suddenly I get that TP to the club and we party for hours.

Me and Kura dancing at the Discoteque in Tokyo.

See the girl in the excavator bucket? Some way to pick up girls for afterparty. Am still laughing.

Relaxing in the swing in my garden after the party. It was needed after this tumble night of fun.
After this night and the day before I am totally wasted. So needs some time to get things together in my head again. Then I check my chats and recalls the interviews. Took me a week to land in fact,
after this flight.

At the lounge of Velvet Pink Ryou Yiyuan was the one giving me links to their blog.

There is a reason for that. Ryou is the outer world communicator for KWD™.

Everyone give their share in the band. Ema Burt even sang her own material when she was DJeing
at the party after we had met at Velvet Pink. Just to give us the full picture on how they operate, or
maybe because this is how it works. When engage the girls, you get some KWD with it.

− When I met Ryou things started to take off. She was willing to do the communication with
blogging about our activities and set up our website, Maeda explain and continues, then we
met Vivi (Vythika), and she provided us with islands to do shows at.

I wonder of course over the connection with Mr Moya, as my first meeting with them was at the
carnival he organized.

− Mr Moya engaged us for the Nice carnival of RL and SL intercommunication party and has
shown our videos at the RL/SL convents at game fairs. KWD make him discovering more
about Japanese pop culture. He begin to have interest for Harajuku style. We didn't find him
in SL but it's too complicated to explain how we got to know him, explains Maeda.
One thing that confused me about KWD is how they communicate as a band. Do they have
managers or band meetings or what?

- When it comes to KWD we do everything all together or not at all. We tried concepts of band
meetings with managers and so, but that did not work for us. We can not be controlled and fixed
into someone else idea of concept. We need be free and do it together within the group, Maeda
answers with emphase.

Acchan, Maeda Aiko, in a picture from their Facebook.

Maeda lives in France right now. She moved away from Japan as a teenager, just when she had got
connected with record companies, due to family reasons.

− In Japan it was mainly my parents idea I should take the chance to become an idol but now
it is my own. I am a very happy person in my RL, I work as a nurse and love it, still I need
to do this once more, she explains.

− I also want to give others this same chance. So anyone who reads your article that wants to
become an idol with KWD are most welcome to join us. Being an idol in the Japanese sense
of the world is not being especially famous but searching to be. What we have in common
the passion for Japanese pop culture, she continues.

− Vythika (Vivi) jumps into the talk here and tells: Avatars of idols are required to look Asian.
^o^ That is the one main rule.

− Another rule is no gor or such, we are supposed to be teenagers, adds Maeda.

Maeda explains the name of the band.
− It exist many idols in SL, they are mainly Asians and destined to a Asian public too. My
mixed status (being Japanese and French) gave me envy to give the path of KWD being
international so this way the "teams" came. Team K = American time zone, team W =
Europa, team D = Asia. So whatever time zone you are at there will always be someone in
the KWD to be with you.

The girls make postcards with autographs for their fans, this is Maeda Aiko's postcard.

Then she does something extreme that fascinates me and proves once again during this meeting
with KWD that there are more to Japanese culture interest then just sugar bombed pastel. She shows
her alt. This is a dangerous looking Japanese Ghost avatar and it makes me think of Japanese
Horror such as The Grudge and The Ringu, only worse.

There are always two sides to a coin, sort of speak.

Picture from KWD blog.

At the interview the girls explained to me the diversity within the Kawaii culture. There are Gothic
Lolitas as well as many other different style. Within KWD everyone got their own agenda, even if
they have costumes for their official shows that looks same.
- Ryou is a Kuro Gyaru, Setsuna an Hime Gyaru mixed with an Ageha, I'm an Hime Kei, Maeda
− These are Japanese styles of dress and appearance, adds Vythika.
− I remember aiko and the other had word for my style, but I couldn't remember it, says
Syrena Macpherson.
(She is the Gothic Lolita in my eyes.)
− Setsuna is the specialist, Maeda say with a manga smile. She love to give a distinctive style
to all of us.
− Setsuna is your stylist? I ask.
- No, our stylist is Neka but Setsuna is a sort of fashion victim. She run the bar we are in to be able
to feed her hunger for shopping.
Syrena Macpherson giggles. Maeda too.
− Until Godzilla comes, says Vythika.
− Godzilla?? Liza Veliz peeks ears and the girls explain they got the Japanese movie horror
monster terrorizing Second Life Tokyo for fun in their sim.

Godzilla terrorizes Tokyo sometimes. Photo from Kawaii Dolls Facebook.
− DO you live this style in RL too? If I may ask?
− - I'm not but sometimes a bit occasionally, tells Maeda.
-We all are fans of the style in RL, Vythika says. But it is hard for some.
They have a choreograph that create their dances and lives in Japan in RL that is called Kote
(tetsuya Andrew). And is sure good at it too. Watch this video.

The only male idol in Kawaii Dolls so far is their stylist Neka.
Neka is the stylist of Kawaii Dolls KWD.

- The thing we got in common is the interest for Japanese Culture and Kawaii, and the burn inside
of the wish to become an idol, Maeda Aiko explains and then bows respectfully in Japanese way to
show us her appreciation we wanted to write about her and her Kawaii Dolls.

We do the same to her and the other Dolls.

It was surely a pleasure to write this article.

If you want to connect with them or book them for an event you can always reach them at their
Facebook or at their website. They also have a calendar in the form of a book inside of Second Life
if you wish to go see them live.
They have their own TV Channel where you can watch them at this link
Slurl to the Pink Velvet

I wish to end this article with an awesome video of AKB48™. It was Acchan (Maeda) who
recomended me this one when we were speaking of styles.

Thank you for reading my interview of the Kawaii Dolls in Secondlife!

Update 2013 November, Aiko Maeda & The SL Kawaii Dolls have a new website, please visit it, its called Project 48 Virtual Idols at

My name is Liza Veliz ,reporter for OI Magazine.