You may have seen its TV commercials, perhaps you’ve downloaded the app yourself, maybe you even follow a few of its live streaming stars. 17 Live has exploded onto the scene, and according to January 2021 announcement, the number of certified live streamers who have direct contracts with the company exceeded 32,000 by the end of 2020. That’s a 188 percent increase from the previous year, and 17LIVE has become the number one live streaming platform in Japan in terms of downloads and sales.
The Unexpected Stars of Japan’s Number One Live Streaming Platform, 17LIVE
The whole idea of 17LIVE in the era of live streaming media is that anyone can be an artist.
Although 17LIVE has been gaining such popularity, many people who are not familiar with the app may think that all of the most popular live streamers must be as social media influencers, if not celebrities. (And with news about live streamers who make upwards to ¥100 million or USD $91,000 in a day, who’s to say that live streamers aren’t bonafide celebrities?) Sure, there are plenty of live streamers who fit the conventional mold — attractive young men and women who have hordes of fans—but the mission statement of 17LIVE is “Empower Artists. Entertain the World.” The whole idea of 17LIVE in the era of live streaming media is that anyone can be an artist. With over 32,000 contracts, 17LIVE has a diverse range of live streamers who may not be conventional, but have found their niche on the platform.
One such breakout streamer is “Sen-chan,” an elderly grandma who began her live streaming career in her 70s, when she received her first smart phone. Her homey and sincere style have accrued 1.6 million likes as of the writing of this article. She’s become a star in Japan.
While Sen-chan has received plenty of media coverage, there are plenty of other interesting, and rather unconventional live streamers who are not widely reported yet by the media. We decided to directly approach 17LIVE, which is also one of our portfolio companies, to ask find out more about another pair of streamers who are using their platform in creative new ways.
Meet “Mika Tomb Maki Tomb”▲🔵マキ墳ミカ墳🔴▼」
Mika Tomb and Maki Tomb is a duo that consists of blue-haired Maki Tomb and red-haired Mika Tomb, two cheerful and energetic live streamers who use blue and red respectively as their identifying colors. Their motto is “We want to cherish the ancient tombs and deliver this concept to the world.”
They live stream their visit ancient tombs, and their informative and playful commentary has been a hit with their audience — they sometimes even dress up like demons to entertain their fans. Outside of their live streaming career, they work as members of executive committee for an ancient tomb festival that consisting mainly of local housewives.
Maki Tomb, the first one who started these activities, was not interested in ancient tombs. Her interest in ancient tombs derives from an ancient tomb that is located right in front of her house after she got married. The ancient tombs had been neglected for a long time. After seven years of maintenance work, it was reopened, but it did not attract much attention from the local people and the park was depopulated. Seeing this, Maki Tomb began to think about ways to regain public interest in ancient tombs. Thus began her fascination.
To help as many people as possible discover the charms of ancient tombs, Maki Tomb started the Executive Committee of Hanicotto Festival to hold festival called “Ancient Tomb Festival, Come Come* Hanicotto.” Mika Tomb had worked with Maki Tomb for eight years as a fellow content creator. After participating in the Ancient Tomb Festival as an attendee, she became involved as an exhibitioner and eventually as a member of the executive committee, being addicted to exploring and learning more about ancient tombs.
The first “Ancient Tomb Festival, Come Come* Hanicotto” attracted 2,000 attendees, including ancient tomb enthusiasts and the general public interested. In 2019, the number of attendees grew to 30,000. The first online festival, which was streamed for a week on 17LIVE in 2020, had an audience of 35,000 people. This year, their in-person festival will be on November 21, exploring Imashirozuka Kofun, and it will again be streamed on 17LIVE.
In addition to introducing ancient tombs around the country, they contribute to the revitalization of local communities by collaborating with local governments and other organizations in prefectures where ancient tombs are located, especially in their hometown, Takatsuki City in Osaka.
From 2021, in cooperating with local governments in 12 districts across Japan, they started the “Ancient Tomb Tour at Home: Activity of Ancient Tombs around Japan,” a monthly live streaming project that allows you to enjoy attractive content in real-time on topics such as “ancient tomb” or “cultural heritage” in different regions, as a new means to spread Japanese culture.
In this way, they are utilizing the platform beyond 17 LIVE’s expectations, creating a new form of live streaming that doesn’t just maintain cultural significance all over the world, but also contributes to local society.
“We want to protect Japan’s ancient tombs through spreading the content. Without spreading out, we could not protect Japan’s ancient tombs,” Maki Tomb and Mika Tomb told us. “We are here on 17LIVE because we want to protect ancient tombs through these activities. Reach out! Share your thoughts!”
*This article was translated from Japanese. Special thanks to ▲🔵マキ墳ミカ墳🔴▼ and 17LIVE Inc.