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PPAP (Wikimedia Creative Commons)

PPAP Tops Japan, World Youtube Viral Music Videos in 2016


PPAP: Japan’s Gangnam Song Goes Super Viral

It’s called PPAP in short and the full form reads Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen, written in Japanese katakana as ペンパイナッポーアッポーペン, a parody song written by Pikotaro, a fictional singer-songwriter created and portrayed by Japanese comedian Daimaou Kosaka. It has become a rage in Japan and elsewhere to match Gangnam fame in 2016.

Though it was released as a music video on YouTube on 25 August 2016, it took some time before people realised that it forces one to see it again and again thus reaching almost a 100 million views on Youtube as of now.

It has also spawned several parodies, which too have reached more than 50 million views and some clocked 20 to 30 millions. The single itself reached number 1 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart and became the shortest single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

Kosaka hit upon the idea of a silly song a-la Gangnam or Gentleman of Korean counterparts with much less inputs — single person portraying with no background and no one else in the video. Except for his Asian costume, no other item on the screen diverts your attention. And the lyrics, nothing unless you expand PPAP once and for all.

Kosaka came up with the tune when he was reportedly listening to the tune and wanted to pen down. When he looked around an apple and a pineapple caught his vision and there he imagined as if he is from the apple country, that is the US.

The song is written in the key of C♯ minor with a common time tempo of 136 beats per minute and the song Pikotaro’s vocals span from F♯3 to C♯5 in the song.

The music video portrays Pikotaro, dressed in a yellow snake and leopard animal print costume, making gestures you should assume as dance and then sings: “I have a pen, I have a apple. Uh, apple pen” with his gestures showing as if he is holding both of them and pushing them together. Produced with just 100,000 yen (about Rs.50,000), it has already reached 100 million views, which could be few millions of dollars for the producer.

On 27 October, Pikotaro posted a “long version” of the music video and on 17 November, Pikotaro made an appearance on the Japanese edition of Sesame Street, where he joined Elmo and Cookie Monster in singing their version of the song titled “CBCC (Cookie-Butter-Choco-Cookie)”.

When Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber shared the video on Twitter on 27 Sept, 2016, saying it was his “favorite video on the Internet”, it hit the road to worldwide recognition averaging over 1.5 million hits a day with several parodies coming out.

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