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Internet memes often feel like they come out of nowhere, emerging from the digital ether at random before becoming inescapable fixtures of late-night comedy shows and social-network news feeds. Online ephemera tends to follow a clear path, however, journeying from obscure LOL-bait to something your grandparents can quote back to you.

“PPAP” by Pikotaro is no exception. Although it blew up at the end of September, the short-and-sweet video became a trend gradually, building from obscurity to become Justin Bieber’s “favorite video on the internet.”

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