Turns out some people dislike being forced to listen to artificial voices.
In Japan’s schools, students have lunch while listening to music broadcasts, the selection of which is up to the discretion of the broadcasting committee. Song requests are usually fulfilled, so students can rock to their favorite tunes while filling their stomachs. However, this also results in choices that aren’t appreciated by everyone in the class, and finding middle ground is no easy task.
Such things are difficult to solve, and for one Japanese father, it was the breaking point when his daughter asked an innocent question.
▼ Little did he know that this would ignite
a huge debate on Twitter. (Translation below.)
小学生の娘からの疑問 「給食時間に好きな曲をかけてもらえるのだけれどボカロ曲は先生ダメだって言った。どうして？聞いたら機械の声だからダメだって。でもPerfumeはいいんだって。どうしてかな・・・」 職員室に乗り込み父親として小一時間問い詰めたくなった まさにその瞬間であった—
また〜り（にーにー） (@hatunemix) July 02, 2017
“This is a question from my daughter who’s in elementary school. ‘We can play our favorite music during lunch, but our teacher said that vocaloid songs are not allowed. When I asked him why, he said that it’s because they sounded robotic, but Perfume is fine. Why is that?’”
The phenomenal Japanese group Perfume is known to make use of robotic voice effects to match their electropop music, which is rather similar to music sung by vocaloids like Hatsune Miku. So why such discrimination from the teacher?
One Twitter user agreed with the teacher:
“Perfume’s music does sound artificial, but it’s all modified. They sing at live concerts and release songs like other idols do. Their dances leave a lot to be desired, but I definitely prefer actual people singing. Vocaloid is 100% artificial, and that’s the main difference.”
Most, however, voiced their objections:
“My junior high school was like that as well. Some boys said, ‘What’s so great about that artificial voice? It’s so uncomfortable to hear it!’ Vocaloid songs were stopped for some time, but they slowly came back. In the end, a meeting was held and it was decided that there would be no more of those. Back then, I didn’t want to hear your selected songs too!”
“Vocaloid music isn’t artificial, it has a source. Sure it’s modified, but if you count that as being artificial, then all real singers are like that too.”
“I once worked as an elementary school staff member. At the time, it seemed that there were a lot of people who refuse to accept our subculture. Just the mere mention of games or anime in the workplace is enough to make them treat you like an alien.”
It really depends on the school it seems, with some people saying theirs were fine with blasting Senbonzakura over the speakers, while others had teachers who were allergic to anything otaku. It’s a sticky situation at best, and children at such a tender age carry these experiences for the rest of their lives.
One thing that can’t be denied though, is that virtual songstress Hatsune Miku has become a part of Japan. After all, one Ministry in Japan certainly acknowledges her presence.