Japanese pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu takes a tour of First Street North in Little Tokyo on Tuesday. (Photos by JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo)

By ELLEN ENDO, Rafu Shimpo

Japanese pop singer, model, and queen of kawaii Kyary Pamyu Pamyu brought her Local Power Japan project to Little Tokyo on April 19, aimed at supporting small businesses and communities that were hard hit by the pandemic and collaborating with them to create merchandise for her tour.

Kyary in the shadow of the Yagura in Japanese Village Plaza.

The world-famous pop music star paid visits to four local businesses and greeted the owners and workers at Bunkado, Café Dulce, Fugetsu-Do, and Okayama Kobo (inside the Miyako Hotel), where she asked about their histories, products, and plans for the future.

Three of the businesses created food products incorporating KPP’s colorful thematic elements. Bunkado, meanwhile, is selling T-shirts bearing a collaboration logo that recognizes a Little Tokyo landmark and incorporates the star’s signature mixture of cute as well as bizarre images.

The T-shirts are being sold at Bunkado through the end of May only and can also be purchased online. Kyary-themed food products will be available through May at the discretion of the store management.

The 29-year-old pop star’s Southern California visit coincides with her 10th anniversary concert tour aimed at shining a light on small towns and communities.

As she examined the artifacts at the Japanese American National Museum along with president/CEO Ann Burroughs and external relations officer Masako Miki, Kyary complimented the museum’s work, saying, “It is important to learn about your history.”

Kyary, who was born Kiriko Takemura, winds up her eight-day visit to Southern California today with an appearance at the world-famous Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival. Billie Eilish leads off the lineup, which also includes Megan Thee Stallion, Japanese-British singer Rina Sawayama, Japanese Breakfast, which is led by Korean American musician Michelle Zauner, and YouTuber/songwriter George “Joji” Miller.

“At Coachella, a large portion (of the audience) was seeing me for the first time, but there were also long-time fans present,” she noted. It didn’t take long, however, for fans to be drawn in by her unique, high-energy performance. Her solo concert on April 18 brought out almost 1,300 loyal fans.

Asked if she felt that J-Pop would begin to take over the U.S. as K-Pop has done recently, she pointed out that her style is different and has been around for many years.

She said that appearing at Coachella has long been a dream of hers. She will perform in front of that crowd again this afternoon. “I can’t believe that I am on the same program as Billie Eilish,” she said.

The pop star met with many leaders in the Japanese and Japanese American community, including Consul General Akira Muto.

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