Week 3: Who is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu?

For this week’s investigation I was encouraged to further pursue J-Pop and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. It proved to be a much more fruitful investigation than I originally thought, providing many points for reflection. I started by typing Kyary Pamyu Pamyu into the Twitter search bar, at which point I was confronted by the multitude of user results it returned. Many of these accounts had variations on the name for their handle and used pictures of her as well as her aesthetic. It seemed as if these people were on the verge of identity theft and if it were not for the suspiciously low number of followers I would have accepted some of them as Kyary herself. Exploring further I encountered difficulty in the fact that in many tweets containing her name none of them used her official handle to link to her page as is common in my experience of Twitter.

Google Translate

Google Translate

I finally found her in a link from a fan page there was probably difficulty in finding her name as she wrote it in Japanese and has used @pamyurin for her handle. This difficulty in finding her seems proactive in retrospect, perhaps a relation to the noted Japanese disinterest in facilitating global fandom. Her content seems relatively normal, there were a lot of pictures of food and most of her tweets deciphered crudely with Google Translate seemed to be thanking her fans or promoting new music/concerts. She also posts a number of selfies and some press photos are evident but she seems to have sourced them herself, though this is just an assumption. Interestingly with photos of children, their identities had been disguised by crude “Microsoft Paint” jobs which might be linked to laws regarding publishing photos with minors.

It is difficult to decipher to what extent this content has been influenced externally because of the language barrier but a lot of it seems genuine in comparison to an account like Psy’s. The fact that her account is in Japanese (Kyary being a non-Anglophone) further eludes to a presence rooted strongly in her Japanese identity which has not been watered down by internationalising her web presence through an English translation. Further research will have to be undertaken to decipher whether this is a standout in a J-Pop star’s use of the platform, thought I was pleasantly surprised by her presence, given the description of her entourage for an interview discussed in last week’s post.

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One comment

  1. It is interesting how you point out that the fact Kyary operates almost exclusively in her native language in social media, and that that choice made it difficult for you to access her. In your post, you’ve showed a screenshot of one of her twitter pictures, and I think this says a lot about the use of visuals in social media. Although you are unable to read the language she is writing in, you are still able to get a sense of her personality and life through the images she uses, thus making her accessible to an audience past the language barriers. I found an article from MIT that discusses the use of images in social media. It is focused more on the marketing use of social media but has some good points on the power of images (ie. posts with images get more responses) http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2013/the-big-picture-using-images-in-social-media.

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