Hatsune Miku, Toyota spokesperson. Image: Toyota

Hatsune Miku, Toyota spokesperson. Image: Toyota

If you've never heard of pop star Hatsune Miku, don't worry. Most of her work is in Japanese. And she's only four years old. And of course, she's not real.

Miku is a virtual celebrity, created in 2007 as part of a music software package called Vocaloid. (Basically, she's apotheosis of AutoTune: a musician who doesn't need a body or even vocal cords, just some catchy lyrics and a good backbeat.) Miku was an instant success in Japan, and within a year, she'd become a racing mascot, emblazoned on the sides of Porsches and BMWs on the GT racing circuit.

Earlier this summer, we told you that Toyota had drafted Miku into service to help sell the 2011 Toyota Corolla through a marketing campaign aimed squarely at Asian Americans. Apparently, the campaign was successful, because Toyota is now sponsoring a meet-and-greet with Miku at an event called MikuScape, being held tomorrow, September 16, at the self-describe "cosplay café", Royal/T, in Culver City, California. 

Toyota isn't selling tickets to the event: it's drawing 100 names at random from people who like the Toyota Corolla/Miku Facebook page and submit a short fan video. (Sadly, the deadline for entries was Tuesday.) According to a press release, the 100 lucky guests will enjoy a heady combo of food and baldfaced marketing: "Themed desserts and cocktails will delight guests as they view artwork, as well as a live, performance art piece that melds Miku and the Corolla." 

Can't get tickets? No worries. If you're near Culver City, you can drop by Royal/T anytime between now and September 25 for a gander at the space, which has been transformed into Miku's personal garage for her own Toyota Corolla.

And no matter where you live, you can hang with Hatsune on your smartphone, using Toyota's Shopping Tool App for Android and iPhone. The latest version of the app includes an augmented reality feature, which allows users to point the camera on their phone to a special "stage" (downloadable at Toyota.com/CorollaMiku beginning tomorrow) and watch Miku perform a number before their very eyes.

For those who might've been confused/angered/bored by this talk of virtual pop stars, have a look at Miku in concert. Maybe you can see what all the fuss is about. (Brace yourselves: Blade Runner is almost here!):

[Toyota via John Voelcker]