Japanese School Entrance Ceremony Held in Metaverse for Over 3,000 New Students
Spring is a time of new beginnings in Japan, especially for students, many of whom are entering the job market or entering new schools for the first time. In the case of schools, that makes it the season for large-scale entrance ceremonies across Japan, but the lingering pandemic continues to make this hallowed tradition of large gatherings problematic.
Luckily, the metaverse also arrived to meet the needs of institutions to accommodate the hundreds and thousands of new registrants while protecting them. It’s something that’s happened before, with reports of academic milestones in the questionable metaverse of Minecraftbut now an official platform has been created just to host an entrance ceremony.
On April 8, 29 NSG College League-operated vocational schools in Niigata Prefecture held their first metaverse entrance ceremony for approximately 3,800 new students. The event took place on a virtual intersection with a soundstage set up for speeches.
The ceremony kicked off with comedic styles by Satoshi Mukaifresh off its highly successful run on the hit Netflix show The last one standing. After the crowd warmed up, Niigata Business College Principal Toshihiko Watanabe greeted the students on behalf of the 29 principals of the group of schools.
▼ Satoshi Mukai in avatar form
The ceremony was interspersed with video messages, such as one from student representative Harukazu Okiyama of the Sado School of Traditional Culture and Environmental Wellness in Sado City. Okiyama advised newcomers to embrace technology to help build stronger bonds with other students.
In the second half of the event, fellow Mukai Panther manzai unit members Ryotaro Kan and Takahiro Ogata also made an appearance and everyone was allowed to mingle freely in the virtual space via robot avatars.
It could be argued that entrance ceremonies are more important to the parents than to the students themselves, so naturally they were allowed to attend via a YouTube live stream of the ceremony. According to NSG, some 1,200 guests tuned in to watch.
So it’s fair to say that this metaverse ceremony was a resounding success. Even though the pandemic appears to be ending, other benefits of this format can be found in allowing top talent to perform more easily or allowing students to attend from the comfort of their own bedrooms and pajamas while throwing a peek into their Instagram feeds during boring parties with impunity. It’s a win-win.