akihiko-shirai

Akihiko Shirai has been doing research and development in VR live entertainment since 1995, and he’s been a key liaison between the XR communities in Japan and France going back to 2004. Since June 2018 he’s been researching vTuber (Virtual YouTuber, virtual persona, virtual artist) workflows and pipelines as the VR Studio Lab Director at GREE.

I had a chance to talk with Shirai at Laval Virtual 2019 about his journey into VR, his connection to Laval Virtual, as well as some of the work that he’s doing with VTubers and how the Japanese culture seems to be more comfortable embodying virtual representations. Here are the slides from his Laval Virtual 2020 talk on “Avatar awakes new human beings – Short report from VTuber industry” (with lots of links in the speaker notes.) The phenomena of vTuber streamers has been a lot more popular in Japan, but I suspect that as we move more into augmented and virtual reality environments, then more and more people are going to start using virtual representations of themselves. Shirai has a lot of deep insights into the topic that we start to discuss in this interview, but he goes into much more details in slides and talk linked below.

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