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J-rocker Miku, vocalist for Au Cafe, and little dog Nyappi-chan, which he calls "my rat dog," elsetimes "my daughter," a chihuahua/shi tzu mix that he got as a puppy on the spur of the moment while on a shopping spree in 2007.

If you thought Miku was a girl, that's an affectation that has become a commonplace of Japanese rockers, combining influences of the never-outgrown glam-rock and Culture Club era with influences from manga comic books in which heroes tend often to look like girls, and kabuki theater where male onnagata played women's roles.

And if you heard these girlish lads giggling like wakashu (boy harlots) for dirty old men, you'd never mistake them for girls; in person they're pretty much like the worst of spoiled vain self-important American teenagers, though they do make better objects for the camera.

Part and parcel with the girlish affection is to emulate Paris Hilton's love of chihuahuas; a great many j-rockers have little dogs.

The word "nyappy" just about combines Yappy with Happy, and as Japanese slang has nuances of meaning "hyper-happy," used also as a greeting about halfway between "hello" and "what's up fool?"

Miku is said to have invented the word while still in school and popularized it among his friends long before he had a dog with that name. Although the word pre-dated the presence of Nyappy-chan in Miku's life, the term quickly begin to shift to application largely to very cute animals, such as a nyappy koala, a nyappy kitten, etc. You can use it as a suffix as in "bye-nyappy" to say goodbye or "un-nyappy" to indicate sadness.

All things relating to Au Cafe are said to be nyappy. Miku's name also became a fad-word. "She's such a miku" mean's "a cool, sweet, gorgeous woman (or boy)." Fans of his band are called Aucafekkos. The ultimate in nyappiness is tiny Nyappi-chan himself, who brings happiness to all who see him.

The middle photographs show Nyappy-chan as a pup, when he was brown, and grown, when he became much more pale. The drawing below is a devoted Aucafekko and Miko devotee, Zuka Kirsch, 2008.


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