About Yukkuri movie incident


What is ‘Yukkuri movies ‘ ?

霊夢と魔理沙って誰? | ひっそりとプコブルー

Have you ever seen ‘Yukkuri movie’ ?
‘Yukkuri movie’ is one of the most popular ways for making easy Youtube videos in Japan.

You can find so many videos posted in Japanese Youtube, using the same body-less characters named ’Marisa’ and ‘Reimu’ with monotone AI voices.

Both characters are derived from a popular game project named ‘Toho’, originated by a video game programming circle.

These characters and AI voices have become so popular because they enable people to make easy Youtube videos without exposing themselves to public in their videos.

In addition, those pictures and AI voice software have been basically provided free of charge, supported by many volunteers’ work.

Nowadays v-tubers have become popular all over the world, but in Japan these ‘Yukkuri’ style videos already have been popular for more than 10 years.

Now a v-tuber ‘Yuzuha’ made a controversial action, which has upset many Yukkuri users.

Yuzuha’s trademark claim incident

On 15th May 2022, a v-tuber ‘Yuzuha’ suddenly posted on Twitter that he (or she) has got a trademark rights for ‘yukkuri chaban geki’, one of the most popular tag used for many Yukkuri movies.

動画の人気ジャンル「ゆっくり茶番劇」の商標登録が波紋を呼ぶ ZUNさんやひろゆきさんも参戦し「祭り」の様相 | ガジェット通信 GetNews

At the same time Yuzuha announced that anyone who want to use the trademark in movies should pay 100 thousands yen (about $780) per year, which has offended many Yukkuri users.

The worst thing was that Yuzuha was no more than one of Yukkuri users and had nothing to do with the original author.

In addition, Yuzuha made his (or her) trademark claim publicly only after the time limit for re-investigation request (2 months) had passed, which made the public even more furious.

Yuzuha’s claim caused a sensational public reaction and even some major TV news reported this incident.


It’s legal, but…

Interesting thing is that from a pure legal point of view, Yuzuha’s action was completely legal and nothing to be blamed at all.

Basically Japanese trademark system adopts what is called ‘first come, first served’ rule. According to the rule, Yuzuha took the first place so Yuzuha should be the winner of the trademark.

But many of Japanese internet users have shown clear disgust against Yuzuha’s trademark claim.

My impression is that in this point we can see one typical characteristics of Japanese cultural tendency, in which people give more weight on unwritten rules of community than on ‘legal’ claim.