Is software superstar Hatsune Miku a better pop icon than Justin Bieber?

Let’s hope Hatsune Miku is the future of pop.

Last year on a trip to Japan, the character bombarded me. Arcades, shopping complexes, subways, television programs and convenience stores were polka-dotted with her glowing face. If you wanted something, chances were it came emblazoned with Miku branding, be it a toy figurine or a hyper-sexualized pastry.

How had someone, or something, become so popular across the world, and yet my colleagues and I had hardly heard of it? My curiosity led, as I suspect it does with many Miku fans, to a bit of obsession. The littlest bit of investigation reveals Miku isn’t just a pop star; she’s a bold improvement on the way we engage with intellectual property. She’s what Justin Bieber, Mickey Mouse and…

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