After his debut in 2019, many pop music fans in Japan called Kaze Fujii the first breakout act of the Reiwa Era, which commenced in May that same year. Since then, Fujii has delivered on the expectations domestically — selling out arena shows, landing valuable commercial tieups and, in the spring of this year, scoring some of the year’s top album sales with his sophomore effort, “Love All Serve All.”

However, his biggest hit to date — and his first chance to make an impression globally — was completely out of his control.

This summer, TikTok users in Southeast Asia latched on to “Shinunoga E-Wa,” a cut from Fujii’s 2020 release that translates to “I’d Rather Die” (he sings about how he would eat needles to spend more time with his love), using it to soundtrack video collages about objects of their own desire, be it an actor, anime character or a member of BTS.