eiko Chiba (DOB 1975), a teenage singing idol from Tokyo, broke expectations in more than one way by setting up her "Digital Reiko" (aka "Cherry Babe") homepage. Not only did she set herself up as a pop idol without most of the enormous machine of talent searches and industry execs which normally creates them, she established herself as a computer presence in Japan, where few people own PCs (and where even Web-surfing is now offered by specialty WWW machines as much as by actual computers). Chiba has achieved the Web builder's ultimate dream; achieving a cult following without even leaving her room.

This is an exaggeration, of course. Chiba has appeared far and wide in TV, anime, video games and the occasional swimsuit photo. Having a good relationship with SNK, she provided the voice for the green-haired, boomerang-throwing fighter Cham Cham in Samurai Shodown 2. In the Samurai Shodown anime she voice-acted nature-loving priestess Nakoruru, a character she has also frequently dressed as for publicity shots. (She also had a bit part in Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture, first as herself, then a cameo dressed as Nakoruru in a nightclub scene.) What game otaku, used to obsessing over Mai Shiranui and Cammy, wouldn't be touched? Her other anime credits include Adventures in the Otaku Galaxy. Her most recent video game venture is as president of Software Service Co., now working with Glams to develop the 3D fighting game Galventure. (Her actual programming ability, outside of HTML, is unknown.) Chiba has also been an announcer for the radio show Akihabara Young Denkikan and gone into live action in the popular series Juu Ranger, where she played the pink Ranger in what become Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers in the U.S.

Some attribute Chiba's computer publicity push to an idea suggested by a previous boyfriend, but it is clear that Chiba herself is a genuine Internet fanatic. When young, she was sick and spent years in her room. Now she spends hours each night on online chat services, and answers e-mail from fans herself. On the Internet you can look at her online wardrobe, and photos of her on numerous websites. Currently she's heavily into body piercing. From inside her Tokyo room (or outside it with a laptop computer), Chiba has a finger on her fans' pulse, and can react to them as quickly as the Internet. Rather than the dreamy love or steamy sex offered by other idol personalities, Chiba is more electronic and up-to-date than sentimental. Who knows what she'll do when she can use virtual reality?

Reiko Chiba/Cherry Babe Page (Japanese)
The homepage that started it all, unfortunately not in English

Information about Reiko Chiba
Part of the 'Cyber 24 Hours' project of photographs taken in a single day and posted on the Internet

TV Talent Profile of Reiko Chiba (Japanese)
Information on Reiko's TV programs

Digital Zeitgeist: Reiko Chiba
A report on the Reiko Chiba phenomenon

Reiko Chiba Personal Information
Featuring Reiko Chiba's resume and measurements

Akihabara Young Denkikan Pages
Information on the radio program starring Reiko Chiba



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