YOKOHAMA – One of the hottest companies in Japan today doesn’t produce cars, electronics or, for that matter, anything else. Its business is pure destruction, and by singing its praises the tiny Yokohama demolition firm has become dynamite.
Nihon Break Kogyo Co.’s song splashed onto Oricon, one of the nation’s most influential music charts, on Monday. It is the first time a “shaka,” or corporate anthem, has made the charts, according to Oricon Inc., a major Tokyo music information provider.
“Nihon Break Kogyo Co., Shaka” was released Dec. 17 by Infinite Records. It was composed two years ago for business use and was nearly forgotten by the company, until it suddenly entered the nationwide spotlight when it was picked up by a TV program in late October. It immediately created a sensation, mostly with teenagers.
The song ranked 22nd in its debut on Oricon’s weekly chart of the top 100 CD singles, just five notches under “No Way to Say” by Japanese diva Ayumi Hamasaki, and five notches above “Rock With You” by BoA, a teenage South Korean singer hugely popular in Japan.
The tune has already been made into ring tones for mobile phones, and two major karaoke song distributors are set to add it to their song books in January.
Unlike the stiff, propagandalike nature of regular Japanese corporate anthems, the up-tempo rock tune, written and performed by a Nihon Break Kogyo demolition worker, sounds like the themes from old Japanese animated films featuring superheroes.
But the humorous lyrics reflect the pure corporate anthem spirit of promoting the company — “We will destroy houses! We will destroy bridges! We will destroy buildings! To the east, to the west — Run, Run, Nihon Break Kogyo!”
“We decided to sell CD copies of our company song simply because we didn’t want to handle so many phone calls and Internet inquiries any more,” said Shogo Kurita, a Nihon Break Kogyo board member.
According to Kurita, the company’s phone rang “every five minutes” with calls from people who wanted the music soon after it was featured on Tamori Club, a midnight variety show aired by TV Asahi Corp.
Having to answer some 100 phone calls from nonclients every day was too much of a burden for Nihon Break Kogyo, which has only 16 regular employees.
Some 50 irregular workers are also registered with the company as demolition crew members. The composer of the song, a 32-year-old aspiring musician who calls himself Manzo, is among them.
In addition to the song’s unexpected TV attention, its exposure on 2 Channel, a huge Japanese Internet discussion board, fueled the frenzy and led to some 500,000 hits on Nihon Break Kogyo’s Web site in just a week after the Oct. 24 broadcast. The total number of hits later topped 1 million.
“The lyrics have an enormous impact. Maybe this song is more radical and aggressive than songs created by mediocre punk rock bands,” said a review on Amazon.co.jp.
Kurita said there are roughly 30,000 demolition companies in Japan, but he doesn’t really know where his firm stands in the industry.
“I recently saw on TV that our company is around 120th from the top in terms of sales,” he said.
Nihon Break Kogyo’s business has always been good since its establishment in 1986, and the main purpose of creating the anthem was to improve the image of demolition, which is associated with dirt, dust and noise, he said.
“I think our company song has already achieved its mission,” Kurita added.