Hatsune Miku Season: What to expect at the largest ‘Senbonzakura’ Exhibition outside of Japan
The event features never-before-seen artworks and display configurations, which contain materials sourced from Japan.
Diehard Miku-maniacs, it’s time to make like a synthesiser and tune in to the Hatsune Miku art exhibition, titled Singapore Cosplay Club Licensed Show: Senbonzakura.
Taking place at Harbourfront Centre from Sep 29 to Oct 31, the exhibition – which is the largest Senbonzakura (meaning ‘a thousand cherry blossoms’) exhibition outside of Japan – is themed around the eponymous original song by KuroUsa-P and light novel by Ittomaru, and features five zones.
Wait! But who’s Miku?
For those unfamiliar with Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku is a widely-beloved voice synthesiser who can be thought of as an instrument – users of her voicebank will plug in notes and the vowel or consonant they want her to sing, and can string together songs using those sounds.
Senbonzakura is one such song, which is iconic in the Vocaloid community. It has spawned multiple covers, a novel series, and even a kabuki play. Its story features multiple VOCALOID characters, who are all featured in the exhibition – KAITO, MEIKO, Megurine Luka, Kagamine Len, Kagamine Rin, and Hatsune Miku.
Senbonzakura: The Exhibition
The five zones will contain official art from Ittomaru, the artist and writer behind the Senbonzakura novel, as well as other artists licensed by Crypton Future Media.
To reach the exhibition, visitors simply need to swap around the numbers on Miku’s arm – 01 – and find their way to Level 10 of Harbourfront Centre.
Zone One: Prologue
Upon entering Senbonzakura, visitors will be greeted with a short written explanation of Hatsune Miku as a VOCALOID, and a row of costumes worn by the characters involved in the story of Senbonzakura. The space is almost overwhelmingly pink, speaking to the cherry blossom theming of the exhibit.
Zone Two: Introduction
The area just beyond the costumes, strung up with Japanese fabric and a generous sprinkling of cherry blossom petals, features framed art of the characters in Senbonzakura. Panels of art line the walls, which visitors can walk along to grasp the story.
Zone Three: Ou-kyo
The Ou-kyo (meaning ‘Cherry Blossom Capital’) zone, which is named after the characters’ hometown, features a variety of key art of the novel’s characters, a tree, and – the highlight – a performance by Hatsune Miku, which visitors can view by way of a projector.
According to the event staff, the projected performance of Hatsune Miku dancing to Senbonzakura was created using motion tracking on a traditional dancer’s rendition of the choreography.
Zone Four: Seasons
The Seasons zone continues on with the display of key art, but does something a little different – it uses the event space to breathe life into each of the characters. Through the use of symbols and colour, it assigns each character a season, which is represented through various items placed around a framed photo of them.
Zone Five: Epilogue
The fifth zone is where Senbonzakura’s story will conclude. It uses tapestries and a carpeted walkthrough where visitors will be able to experience the final chapter of the novel.
The organisers say that the exhibition’s story ends at Miku’s final battle because “as she steps into her reality, so do you”.
(And boy, can reality drain your wallet.)
In the last area, as visitors emerge from Senbonzakura’s story, they will find a large space dedicated to event merchandise, as well as a concept art wall featuring Ittomaru’s illustrations and sketches. Another wall is dedicated to art by other creators.
The merchandise offerings include official t-shirts produced only for the Singaporean edition of the exhibition, mugs, and umbrellas, all bearing Senbonzakura theming.
The exhibition will also carry limited runs of items such as happis (traditional Japanese tube-sleeved coats), of which around 60 pieces will be available, and acrylic stands that can be linked to virtual reality (VR) models. The staff shared that around 100 to 200 pieces of the stands will be available.
For a limited period of time (Oct 28 to 29), visitors will also be able to play with VR and step into the world of Senbonzakura by donning an oculus lens, which will show them the point of view of Hatsune Miku in 3D. They will be able to use motion capture technology by Gugenka, a self-described “Metaverse Hub Content Studio”, to take a photograph of the scene and print it out as a keepsake.
Aside from the exhibition itself, the Singapore Cosplay Club Show will run alongside the event during its last week from Oct 28 to Oct 29, where dancers and singers will feature in performances. Handmade merchandise, fan art, photo sessions, and workshops will also be available via booths set up at the Show.
Those interested in attending the Senbonzakura exhibition, which is free for all visitors, may book their one-hour time slot on Cosfest’s website.