Piko Taro has a pen? Well some young Japanese office workers have a problem.
Since its release in late August, “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen” has been showing up everywhere in Japan, including restaurants, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, movie promotions, and even the local version of beloved children’s television program Sesame Street.
For the most part, aggravated backlashes against heavy-exposure pop culture trends don’t happen in Japan, where the prevailing attitude is to let fans enjoy what they like and simply not pay attention if it’s not your personal cup of tea. However, there’s one place where many young people Japanese don’t want “PPAP” encroaching into: their year-end work parties.
In Japan, it’s customary for coworkers, superiors and subordinates alike, to get together in late December for what’s called a bonenkai, which literally translates to a “forgetting the year party.” As the name implies, the goal is more to shrug off any lingering unpleasantness from the past 12 months than to earnestly reflect on them, and so most bonenkai aim for an atmosphere of lighthearted, often alcohol-fueled joviality.
Sometimes the festivities include having the participants to show off a talent or otherwise give some sort of entertaining performance, often in groups with other employees from a similar level of the organization. This year, some Japanese workers are now worrying that their bosses or senior coworkers will pressure them into singing the Piko Taro song at their bonenkai.
It’s not an entirely ludicrous prediction. “PPAP” has become a universally recognized pop culture phenomena that’s good for a quick chuckle among multiple age groups in Japan. It’s also less than a minute long, with incredibly easy to remember lyrics and dance steps, so it’s not like asking someone to learn them by the date of the party is a major imposition on their free time.
Nevertheless, enough people are dreading the possibility that the Japanese Internet has coined a phrase to describe the situation, mashing together “Piko Taro” and “harassment” to form pikohara, used to describe someone abusing a position of authority to coerce another into singing “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen.”
It’s still to early to tell if pikohara will cement a position in the Japanese lexicon like precursors sekuhara (“sexual harassment”) and pawahara (“power harassment”) have. In the meantime, though, if you’re dealing with a possible pikohara crisis, it might be time to start thinking about countermeasures.
Source: Livedoor News via Otakomu
Top image: YouTube/公式ピコ太郎歌唱ビデオチャンネル -PIKOTARO OFFICIAL CHANNEL-
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