Video of 'android' actor at Tokyo Game Show misrepresented as 'real robot'

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video has been viewed millions of times after it circulated online in multiple Asian countries alongside a claim that it shows a lifelike human robot at Tokyo Game Show 2017. But the claim is false. The video actually shows a Japanese model hired by video game giant Sony Interactive Entertainment to act as an android to promote its latest product at the 2017 trade show. A spokesperson for the company confirmed they hired several people "to act as 'androids' during the event". 

The 24-second clip, which shows a woman waving and moving her head in a seemingly robotic manner, was shared by a Malaysian Facebook user here on July 24, 2022.

The post's caption reads: "Extremely real-looking robot at Tokyo Game Show in 2017".

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on August 30, 2022

Tokyo Game Show 2017 was held from September 21 to 24 that year at Makuhari Messe, in Chiba, a suburb of Tokyo

The same footage has garnered more than 5.3 million views after it circulated alongside a similar claim on Facebook in Japan here and here, in Hong Kong, the Philippines, India and Bangladesh.

Similar posts also appeared on YouTube here and here, where the clip has been watched more than 937,000 times. 

However, the claim is false.

Japanese model

Using a reverse-image search and keyword search, AFP found this picture tweeted by Japanese model Saori Takayama on March 30, 2019, showing her wearing an identical costume as the one seen in the misleading video.

"Post your representative work at the end of the Heisei era," she wrote on Twitter.  "Android!!"

Japan's Emperor Hirohito abdicated on that day, marking the end of the Heisei era. 

According to Takayama's Instagram bio, she is an "artist" who is freelancing as an android actor. 

The same photo is used as the profile picture of her YouTube account. 

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the picture tweeted by Takayama (right), with some identical features marked by AFP.

Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the photo tweeted by Takayama (right)

 

Takayama posted a photo on Instagram on September 23, 2017, tagging it to Makuhari Messe, the venue of Tokyo Game Show (TGS). The caption partly reads: "TGS again today". 

Playstation game promotion

The same costume can be seen in photos published here and here on the website of Japanese photo agency Nippon News.

The photos' caption partly says: "Models in a showcase display cosplay of a video game 'Detroit Become Human' for the promotion at the Tokyo Game Show 2017 in Chiba, suburban Tokyo on Thursday, September 21, 2017."

Similar models can be seen in this 2017 video, posted on a gaming YouTube channel, with a title: "Detroit: Become Human PlayStation Booth - Tokyo Game Show 2017". 

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) debuted its Playstation video game "Detroit: Become Human" at Tokyo Game Show 2017, as reported here and here

A spokesperson for SIE confirmed to AFP on August 26, 2022, that several individuals "were hired to act as 'androids' during the event".