A S’porean’s love letter to Miku: In 2023, you’re still our number 1 hime-sama

A Senbonzakura exhibition in 2023? It’s more likely than you think.

| Guan Zhen Tan | Sponsored | October 05, 2023, 06:57 PM

Earlier this month, I got a text from a colleague asking if I would be able to do this article because I was “really into Japanese pop culture and anime”.

I was rather unsure because I wasn’t necessarily plugged into the latest happenings in the scene, but then I saw the brief. It was about the Senbonzakura exhibition.

By name, Senbonzakura means “one thousand cherry trees”, but as someone who was casually into Vocaloid for a length of time, I knew exactly what it was referring to.

It was the name of a hit song featuring Hatsune Miku.

For the uninitiated, Hatsune Miku is music software developed by Crypton Future Media, INC., and it enables anyone to make the computer sing by entering lyrics and melodies.

In my head, the honour of writing this article should belong to a super fan, but I guess it’s safe to say I know just enough about Miku to pitch this headline:

I never would have thought I had to explain this at work.  Screenshot by Guan Zhen Tan.


How I discovered Hatsune Miku

As mentioned, Hatsune Miku - which will be referred to as Miku henceforth - is a Vocaloid, a singing voice synthesiser which can be used by producers to create any song they wish.

Since her creation in 2007, her voice and image have been featured in thousands of songs.

Together with her fellow virtual idols/voice banks by Crypton Future Media. INC - Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, Megurine Luka, KAITO and MEIKO - Vocaloid was a huge part of my teenage years.

Many videos and songs that featured her voice accompanied me through my adolescent struggles.

Above all, one particular song that stood out to me was “Senbonzakura”.

The catchy song immediately caught my attention, and so did the number of “Odottemita” (dance covers) videos to the song, which I tried in vain to copy.

The song has had an incredible influence on the Vocaloid fandom, so this exhibition couldn’t have come at a better time.

The exhibition

Showcasing the world built around the song, the exhibition will feature beautiful artworks by renowned artist Ittomaru, along with concept installations and costumes worn by the characters featured in the lore.

Here’s what you can expect:

Zone 1: Prologue

Visitors will get to learn more about Hatsune Miku and will be introduced to the world of “Senbonzakura”.

Costumes worn by the characters will be displayed at the entrance to welcome all attendees, with cherry blossom petals decorating the floor leading up to the exhibition.


Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Zone 2: Story

Illustrations and artworks are displayed along the walkway, including those showcasing the storyline of “Senbonzakura” light novel.

Visitors will get to learn more about the characters and the novel’s setting.

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Zone 3: Ou-kyo

Visitors will be able to view the recreation of the world of “Senbonzakura”.

Detailed artwork, including that of the cherry blossom tree, Sakurakin, will be present as visitors enter the town of Ou-kyo.

A virtual 3D model of Hatsune Miku will be dancing amongst the blossoms.

GIF by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Zone 4: Seasons

Here, each character is represented by a season, with each section containing artwork of the characters along with items and symbols that embody the respective seasons.

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Zone 5: Epilogue

The final zone concludes the exhibition with the characters' reappearance in new outfits designed in 2022.

The order of their appearance is significant to the events of the story, which you can read as you leave the exhibition, and exit back into reality.

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

That’s not the end of the exhibition, however, as visitors will be able to see concept art featuring Ittomaru’s early sketches and concept art, along with art by other creators.

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Other special features of the exhibition

Visitors can buy event-exclusive merchandise such as T-shirts, Acrylic Files, Mugs, Umbrellas and Happi (traditional Japanese coats usually worn at festivals).

These are exclusive to the Singapore exhibition and will be made available along with the past season’s collection of acrylic stands, bracelets, can badges, and fans made specially in Kyoto.

What’s more, visitors can look forward to the Gugenka Senbonzakura VR Experience on Oct. 28 and 29, where they can enter the virtual world of Sebonzakura and experience Miku dancing right before their very eyes.

This is a complimentary activity at the Senbonzakura Art Exhibition, on a first-come-first-served basis.

The producer of the Senbonzakura song, Kurousa-P, also created a new song specially for the exhibition, titled “Kotyoran” (translated to Cattleya Orchid), inspired by the scenes of summer in the world of Senbonzakura.

You can hear the song being played at the exhibition itself.

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

Image by Guan Zhen Tan

I hope you enjoy the exhibition as much as I do. Now excuse me while I go cry.

Senbonzakura Art Exhibition at HarbourFront Centre

When: Sep. 29 to Oct. 31, 2023

Venue: Level 10 of HarbourFront Centre, accessible by lift lobby D only

Address: 1 Maritime Square, Singapore 099253

Opening hours: 11am to 7pm daily

The art exhibition is free but it’s on-appointment-basis, so you will need to indicate your interest to visit the art exhibition here.

There will also be a Sakura Festival at the Level 1 Atrium from Oct. 23 to 29, 2023.

Shoppers who spend a minimum of S$50 will be able to enjoy any three activities at the festival game booths such as Wanage (Ring tossing), Yoyo-tsuri (yo-yo fishing), Senbonbiki (string game) and/or dress up in gorgeous yukatas and take photos against scenic back-drop.

Join the caricature workshop on weekdays where shoppers can attend with no minimum spending required.

There will also be a Singapore Cosplay Club show held on Oct. 28 and 29, 2023 at the HarbourFront Centre Level 1 Atrium, with cosplay performances, photo sessions and art & cosplay booths taking place.

Cosplayers are welcome to dress up and participate.

Terms and conditions apply, you can click here for more information.

This article sponsored by HarbourFront Centre Pte Ltd. made the author viva, viva happy.

Top images by Guan Zhen Tan