Danny Choo is the founder of media production company Mirai Inc., which focuses on sharing Japanese lifestyle with the world though the Internet, TV, mobile, print, products and conferences. He is also the director and presenter of the TV show “Culture Japan,” and a presenter on the morning show “Check Time” and Star Worlds’ “Japan Mode.” Danny speaks on Japanese pop culture and consumer generated media at conferences and universities worldwide. He has been featured on CNN, BBC, NHK and G4TV. He was appointed by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) as creative director for the Mazer project in 2012 and now consults for METI’s Cool Japan Project. Danny is the creator of “Culture Japan’s” mascot character Mirai Suenaga. Danny greeted the press while serving as master of ceremonies at the Anime Expo 2013 convention in Los Angeles.
“We share and make Japanese culture more accessible to the world.”
Q: Why do you think the popularity of anime has expanded so much?
CHOO:I think that one of the major influences is the Internet. When I first started off liking Japanese culture, we had to watch anime on VHS tapes. I got them from a Japanese bookshop in the UK which was recording Japanese TV shows and renting out these shows. But I was very reliant on this single location where I would have to take the train and go there to get these videos. But now with the Internet it is very easy to find something online these days. So I think that has definitely contributed to the proliferation of Japanese anime.
Q: Other than your line of dolls, is there anything else you’re going to do with your character Mirai Chan?
CHOO:Mirai Chan has become a mascot character for VOX, the Japanese convenience store Lawson, Kinokuniya International Bookstore and the low-cost carrier Air Asia. I’m working with someone now to write 13 episodes of an anime for Mirai Millennium. He has worked on things like “Cowboy Bebop” and “Ghost in the Shell.” The scenario is complete right now. The next step is to decide if we want to release manga or go for the anime route. I personally want to release manga first. Instead of going through the normal publishers, I want to do it myself. After I learn how to do it, I want to share the knowledge with everyone else so they can do it themselves as well. Mirai Chan is actually a 3D printed interactive Android-controlled robot and we want to make her interactive with social media. My first goal is to have her sitting on the edge of a desk while she swings her legs back-and-forth, looks around the room and when you get a Facebook notification, she will tell you about it in a cute voice. Extra motions and voices would be available for purchase later on through the Google Play Store