To kick off the new school year in Japan, which begins in April, approximately 3,800 students gathered in the metaverse.
In what a Sora News article described as “Metaversity,” 29 trade schools under the NSG College League in Niigata Prefecture, which includes speciality schools in beauty, sports, technology and more, held their opening ceremony in the metaverse to welcome new students. While Japan lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions in March of this year, technically allowing people to meet in person again, the online event made the ceremony more accessible, especially for those who were still concerned about large gatherings.
Japanese actor Satoshi Mukai’s avatar welcomed the students at the beginning of the ceremony. Niigata Business College Principal Toshihiko Watanabe then gave a speech on behalf of all 29 principals of the NSG College League.
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After the event, all the students were free to mingle in their robot avatar forms. While their robot characters were not very sophisticated, the success of the ceremony itself offered hope for the possibility of holding more events in the virtual space.
This was not the first instance of students utilizing virtual reality. When schools in Japan closed in 2020 at the beginning of COVID-19, elementary school students came up with the idea to hold their graduation ceremonies in Minecraft.
Parents were able to livestream the event via YouTube, and a reported 1,200 guests logged on to watch.