Hatsune Miku is a digital musician (also known as a vocaloid) who’s been belting out catchy, commercially successful tunes since 2007. The synthetic idol is monumentally popular in Japan and, as of this year, is a major part of Ireland’s exam for students graduating from secondary school. (That’s the equivalent of high school in the United States, for moving onto university.)
As first pointed out by a thread on ResetEra, the English section of Ireland’s 2021 Leaving Certificate Examination includes two sections on Hatsune Miku. The first tests participants’ comprehension by having them read a short essay on the blue-haired vocaloid’s fame and then answer questions about the text, including, “Would you prefer to attend a concert that featured a real-life performer, like Lady Gaga, or a virtual performer, like Hatsune Miku?”
The exam later tasks students with writing a composition based on a variety of topics, each of which call back to previous parts of the test. The prompt referring to Hatsune Miku basically amounts to fanfiction, asking participants to compose a story about the artificial singer breaking free from her digital confines and escaping into the real world. After seeing how some folks react to Hatsune Miku online, I probably would have included some restrictions on explicit content here if I were the one putting these tests together for the Irish government, but alas. (Why do they never call me?)
Hatsune Miku’s reach has expanded so much in the last decade and change that it should come as no surprise that she ultimately found her way to the pages of an official Irish exam, but it’s still really wild seeing it happen in real time. In any case, her music is no less real than that performed by an actual human being, and she’s even found time between concerts to create Minecraft and write the Harry Potter books. Kudos to Ireland for including one of the world’s most prolific artists in their exams alongside other equally important topics, like algebra and biology.