The Mathematical Movement of Girl Clusters: How Fandom Manifests Physical Intimacy in the Digital Age

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Abstract (in English): 

Fan–idol relationships are shown to be based on emotions and to go beyond mere identification to include parasocial relationships and neo-religiosity. Results thus confirm the theoretical paradox between the television industry’s promotion of celebrity to attract loyal audiences and the rejection of fandom through a carefully constructed representation hereof as ‘freaky business’. How could a virtual girl, customized by hundreds of disparate fans across Japan, and quickly the world, come to have a singular persona? Easy, fans of Miku drew from an existing culture around adorable young pop stars to script a subjectivity for the drawing. Pulling from tropes in anime and manga, Miku was assimilated into a growing culture that celebrates fantasies of girlhood. Using social media and live-streaming services, many young girls in Japan are using performative techniques modelled in Anime shows to be signed by music producers and develop lucrative careers as entertainers. Not quite musicians, not actresses, and too invested in the affect of cuteness to be professionals, these young girls are called “idols”. 

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Carlos Muñoz