Why Twitch Streamer Hakumai is More Than Your Average Pianist

Anime, games, and music!

Twitch music scene’s chillest pianist is here to help you vibe out. In this stream, aesthetics are the mood of the day as Hakumai (who requested to go by her screen name for anonymity) fulfills everyone’s late-night music needs. A blend of classic anime scores and video game themes, this sheet reader’s brand is imperfection. It’s in those little mistakes, she says, that the beauty of reality lies.

Pianist Hakumai on her piano with a music sheet background

Hakumai / Twitch

"I just wanted someone who could make mistakes, because everyone is so perfect on Twitch it hurts. It hurts because I cannot be perfect and I just sometimes want to hear a single mistake," she said jokingly in a phone interview with Lifewire. "I remember thinking at the moment I was searching, I was thinking ‘I can try it.’ I always live by that motto: if it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work…but it did, I guess."

Her screen name, Hakumai, comes from the Japanese word for white rice. It was born out of her love for Kanji and just stuck. The streamer has amassed an audience of over 75,000 followers on the streaming giant over her three-year-long presence on the platform. 

Quick Facts

  • Name: Hakumai 
  • Age: 24
  • Located: Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • Random delight: The success of her streams has allowed her to compose and release two of her very own mini albums—Coffee Rain and inAI—as passion projects for her community.  
  • Motto/Quote: "Always try new things. If you don’t, then you won’t know if they work."

The Music of Life

A child of a doctor and electrician, young Hakumai grew up in a small village in east-central Russia outside of the city limits of any large hubs. At the age of seven, a teacher suggested she join one of the country's private musical schools. It was there she found a passion, eventually, for piano. After seven years, she begrudgingly finished her musical education, though the classical musings of the old greats never connected with her. She had more modern tastes. 

Hakumai grew up on anime and the occasional video game, finding a bit of interest in 8-bit musical sounds. She was always enraptured with the music that scored the scenes and openings of many anime greats like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, and Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke.

Twitch pianist Hakumai setting up for a stream

Hakumai / Twitch

"When I got access to the internet and moved towns I discovered Twitch and people were playing such beautiful songs," she recalled. "I never thought you could play such cool songs, and then I realized it was video game music. I started looking up…all these video games and all these anime I never heard. This was the music that [spoke] to me because only there I [could] hear the beauty of music." 

That beauty of music would be exactly what she’d replicate years later in her streams. Her passion is hitting viewers with a dose of nostalgia by recapturing the best musical moments from their favorite games and anime as she sits sequestered between dazzling lights, Pokemon plushies, and a cloud white digital piano. 

Enter: The Twitch Music Scene

The Twitch music scene is a growing powerhouse on the Amazon-owned live streaming platform. She saw a hole in the scene and thought to herself that she could fill it. The hole? Imperfect musicians who don’t play by ear. She was searching for someone she could relate to, but couldn’t find any. So, the now-streamer decided to be her own muse. 

"Nobody was there. I thought if nobody can do what I want, maybe someone else watching is looking for the same content that I would want to watch," she said. "I realized I am the person I am searching for."

Three years later, she’s streaming full-time to a set schedule, recreating melodies to a crowd of thousands. She chooses to not talk much or interact with chat outside of taking requests. When it comes to a Hakumai stream, the idea is to get lost in the sounds and connect through the power of music.

She prides herself on being able to play, essentially, anything. As long as there’s sheet music to accompany it. Her little corner of Twitch has attracted a following dedicated to her sassy-yet-quiet demeanor and aesthetic that’s vying for a little imperfection in the all too perfect world of Twitch music. 

"I always live by that motto: if it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work… but it did, I guess."

"My community has to be the nicest because they don’t mind when I mess up. They say they like it," she laughs. "Sometimes, Twitch music feels like family. You can go from one stream to another and see some familiar faces all over."

The future is uncertain, but Hakumai is okay with that. The only thing this piano streamer is interested in is taking her time, growing her platform organically, and doing a little bit of self-care in the meantime. She’s the white rice of the Twitch music scene: reliable, steady, and part essential. 

If you’re looking for a live performance to play in the background that takes requests, then Hakumai is a perfect choice. No commitments, no anticipation, just vibes!

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