Japan’s MEXT Taps VEE’s Kitashirakawa Kakapo in Newest Science Communication Campaign

The latest stint from MEXT adds up to Kakapo's continuing role as a virtual science communicator in the VTubing space.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan has tapped VTuber Kitashirakawa Kakapo of Sony’s VEE Project for its newest installment of its Ikkan Ichimai science communication campaign for this month of April.

For this year, the Ikkan Ichimai science communication campaign will focus on the discussions of viruses, and how it can spread per household, and the various sizes it comes with. In this campaign, Kakapo joins Shohei Kojima, a researcher from Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (Riken), one of the largest scientific research institutes in the country.

The first video of the campaign is now posted on MEXT’s official YouTube channel, with subsequent live streams of the campaign to be released on her YouTube channel.

Other stakeholders supporting said campaign include Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases, as well as various medical faculties from some of the biggest Japanese universities such as Osaka University and Kyoto University.

A promotional image for the Ikken Ichimai scicomm campaign, featuring Kakapo and the visual ad for said topic. (Photo Courtesy of MEXT)

Aside from the explanatory video, Kakapo will be also featured in the annual printed educational material for the Ikkan Ichimai science campaign.

  • The Ikken Ichimai campaign was first launched in 2005 by MEXT as a way to communicate various scientific disciplines to the public in a more engaging and easy-to-understand manner. It debuted with the launch of its campaign explaining the periodic table for chemistry.
  • This campaign is launched every April as part of Japan’s Science and Technology Week every April. Said celebration was first mandated in February 1960 in a bid to improve public understanding of scientific concepts, and making science communication accessible to the public.
  • Some of the topics the Ikken Ichimai had previously decoded include family genome, astronomy, cellular biology, magnetic fields and superconductivity, among others.

Kakapo has long been a virtual science communicator in the Japanese VTuber space, ever since she debuted in August 2020. She was then tapped by the VEE Project as part of its ‘Dev-d’ generation.

  • Kakapo holds a doctorate degree in science in real life (though it isn’t specified what scientific field she has focused in).
  • She also has a teaching license to teach general science for middle and high school students.
  • Aside from her regular content such as gaming, she also regularly hosts ‘Just Chatting’ streams, where viewers can ask science-related questions, from insect behavior to even railway systems.
  • In January this year, Kakapo–as part of the independent academia VTuber unit Manabui–participated in a campaign by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to create digital content towards students from middle school to college students.
  • Kakapo has been a staple to some science events in Japan, including Science Agora 2022 and even reviewing S&T-related surveys, such as the 11th Science and Technology Forecasting Survey by MEXT, released in 2021.

At the moment, Kakapo has over 4,200 subscribers on her YouTube channel and around 4,400 Twitter followers.

Source: PR Times