Piko Taro is the creation of a real musician with real talent named Kosaka Daimao, but unfortunately for him, Piko will be the one playing the Budokan this March.
Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan was built in 1964 as a venue for judo during the Olympics of that year. Shortly after, and with a fair degree of resistance from conservatives, The Beatles christened the arena as a pop music venue by performing there. Throughout the 70s it attracted top names such as Bob Dylan, Cheap Trick, Eric Clapton, and Diana Ross, many of whom recorded some of their best live albums there.
Even as the seventies came to a close, top acts from all musical genres continued to perform there like Quincy Jones, Yngwie Malmsteem, Duran Duran, Perfume, and Mariah Carey. With such an eclectic range of artists, there are sure to be some acts that would make people from certain corners of musical taste scoff, but we can all agree that those who perform here have all made their mark on music in one way or another.
This brings us to Piko Taro, who skyrocketed to stardom a few months back with his hit song “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen (PPAP).” On 18 January it was learned that Piko Taro would be performing at the Budokan on 6 March. He will be one of many performers scheduled to appear on behalf of telecom company, Y! Mobile, celebrating their 2017 Spring line-up of products.
No full list of the other acts has been made public yet, but if they’re on the same level as Piko Taro we might expect the person who sings “by Mennen” at the end of Speed Stick commercials and Keyboard Cat.
Sorry, I kid because I always saw PPAP as more of a goof than an actual song. However, this is not to knock Piko Taro – or rather Kosaka Daimaou (born Kazuhito Kosaka) as he was known before all this. In all the PPAP hysteria it is easy to lose track of the fact that there is an actual musician with genuine talent under all that leopard print and schtick.
Here’s a commercial Kosaka did with Kotori Shigemoto and Mitsuhiro Hidaka for 7-Eleven a few years back. Kosaka is the guy in the red jacket. It’s brief but gives you a good taste of his beats.
And here’s a full song with a backing band called Raincoat. Stick with it, because it’s pretty catchy and it’ll take a minute or two for the Piko Taro image to fade away.
It really makes you wonder how he feels about all the apples and pens these days. I guess its great to be famous, but I have to imagine he would have preferred it to have been under different circumstances. He certainly seems to be embracing the novelty of PPAP and is wisely milking all the endorsements and Sesame Street cameos that comes with it.
But when he slaps on that fake perm skullcap and pencils in his mustache just before stepping out on stage at the famed Budokan, an urge to play “Raincoat” or “Nebuta Rave” would have to run through his head at least once, wouldn’t it?