Comedian Pikotaro’s music video “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen,” abbreviated as “PPAP,” that recently went viral on social media has entered the weekly U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at 77th.
It is the first time in 26 years that a Japanese artist has made the U.S. chart. The last was singer Seiko Matsuda, whose song “The Right Combination” reached No. 54 in 1990.
Billboard says the song, which lasts just 45 seconds, is the shortest-ever to make it into the Hot 100.
Chart rankings are determined by the number of radio air plays, sales and online streams.
Currently, Pikotaro’s video is available on streaming services such as Spotify and can also be downloaded from iTunes.
The video has been viewed more than 55 million times since it was uploaded Aug. 25. It topped YouTube’s weekly chart for two weeks in a row, getting a major boost after Canadian pop star Justin Bieber recommended it to his followers on Twitter, saying it’s “my favorite video on the internet.”
In the video, Pikotaro, dressed in garish animal-print lounge wear, wraparound sunglasses and a punch perm, dances in a humorous style and repeats simple lyrics consisting mainly of three words: “apple,” “pineapple” and “pen.”
Phrases such as “This is a pen” and “This is an apple” are traditionally the first English phrases students in Japan learn in school.
Its simplicity is apparently inspiring many to try it out for themselves. Numerous copycat and parody videos have been uploaded to YouTube and other video-sharing sites.
Pikotaro, little-known in Japan until this video, is really 43-year-old comedian Kazuhito Kosaka, a founding member of No Bottom, a music and comedy group.
Including “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen,” Pikotaro has had 11 videos uploaded to YouTube so far, and his recent work “Neo Sunglasses” has been played more than 7 million times.
In a recent interview with NHK World published Oct. 17, he said: “I’ve been tweeting about it, but I always wanted to perform at NHK’s Yearend Song Festival and the Summer Sonic music festival. My new dream is to perform at Madison Square Garden.”