August 7, 2017
By MICHAEL CHEANG
“I had a pen. There was an apple on the table. I poked the apple with my pen. Everyone was laughing. There was also a can of pineapples. Since we have an apple, so let’s go with the pineapple too.”
And that was how the most annoyingly catchy song ever about sticking pens into apples and pineapples – PPAP, also known as Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen – was born.
“It only took me one minute to create it. It’s a one-minute song created in one minute!” says Pikotaro, the Japanese comedian who became an Internet sensation overnight because of the song, which currently has over 123 million views on YouTube.
Pikotaro made his first Malaysian appearance at the Japan Expo in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur recently.
The 1.86m-tall, 44-year-old comedian immediately stands out when he walks into a room, dressed in his usual garish golden-yellow leopard suit and shawl combo, and flashing that trademark silly grin that never seems to leave his face.
Up close, he looks younger than expected, though it’s impossible to keep a straight face when you see that hilarious drawn-on moustache and the permanently earnest and enthusiastic expression on his face.
So, who exactly is Pikotaro?
“I’m a singer-songwriter from Chiba prefecture. I like weird and short songs about pens and pineapples, and pens and apples. All my songs are about things I love,” he replies cheerfully.
Err, okay. Moving on then. So, how does he come up with his songs?
“When I’m in the taxi, when I’m in the shower, and when I’m pooping!” he says. “Sometimes when I’m between waking up and sleeping, songs just come into my head and I’ll sing along. I have a lot of that and it’s all in my phone!
“Sometimes I hum the songs, and send it to my producer, Kosaka Daimaou, and start creating the songs. And I’ll just listen to it again and start dancing, and then go to a plain empty white room and shoot a video. That’s my concept!”
Wait, Kosaka Daimaou, you say? Isn’t he the Japanese comedian who bears a striking resemblance to Pikotaro himself?
“Yes, he is my producer. We are the same height,” Pikotaro says without batting an eyelid.
Yes, the man who calls himself Pikotaro will never admit he and DJ Kosaka Daimaou (whose real name is Kazuhito Kosaka) are actually one and the same. Heck, he’ll even insist that Kosaka is actually his producer and manager.
Going back to PPAP, Pikotaro says that he never expected that one-minute song would be such a huge hit.
“No way! Africa, America, Asia, everyone was listening to it. I even went to the United Nations to sing it!” he says.
“Before PPAP, my life revolves around me being at home and my part time job. Now I go from home to Paris, home to United Nations and home to Osaka! I even sing PPAP in other languages, like Chinese, French and Dutch!”
Does he ever get tired of singing PPAP though?
“Yes, so, so tired! But it’s OK, because the song is so short!”