Piko-Taro gets fans dancing to pen song

Japanese singer Piko-Taro at a press conference at Pan Pacific Singapore on Nov 27, 2016.
Japanese singer Piko-Taro at a press conference at Pan Pacific Singapore on Nov 27, 2016. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR STRAITS TIMES
Japanese singer Piko-Taro at a press conference at Pan Pacific Singapore on Nov 27, 2016.
Japanese singer Piko-Taro at a press conference at Pan Pacific Singapore on Nov 27, 2016.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Japanese singer Piko-Taro's 45-second viral hit PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen) about putting fruits and pens together may be short, but he certainly makes up for it with his big personality and infectious energy.

The singer, alter ego of 53-year-old comedian Kazuhiko Kosaka, enthralled his Singapore fans today when he performed the earworm at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre for Anime Festival Asia.

Brought in by Japanese television channel Wakuwaku Japan, he appeared on the last day of the festival at 6.40pm - 20 minutes before it closed.

Dressed in his signature animal print outfit, and sporting sunglasses and a drawn-on moustache, he kicked off his performance with the original version of PPAP, as hundreds of smartphone cameras went up in the audience.

He then got the audience to join the fun.

With shouts of "Okay Singapore, do you have a pen?", he got his fans to sing the longer version of the song with him, along with the accompanying signature quirky dance moves.

The 2 minute 40 second version, which he released last month, features an R&B-style music segment he calls "dance time".

At a press conference at Pan Pacific Singapore earlier today, Piko-Taro told the media: "Even though PPAP is only less than one minute long, I hope that it can unite everyone."

Since it was first uploaded in August, the song has racked up 91 million views on YouTube and garnered a Guinness World Record last month for being the shortest song to enter the US Billboard Hot 100 charts.

From Bollywood to beatboxing, there have been many cover and parody versions of the song.

Piko-Taro himself sang a "choco-cookie-butter-cookie" version with Sesame Street Japan characters Elmo and Cookie Monster on Nov 17 .

There was also a pop-up Pen Pineapple Apple Pen cafe in Tokyo earlier this month - it closed on Nov 20 - serving food that features apples, pineapples and chocolate sticks or "pens".

The original song also received the attention of pop star Justin Bieber, who tweeted in September that PPAP was his "favourite video on the Internet". That tweet has since received more than 125,000 likes and 68,000 re-tweets.

Piko-Taro plans to release an album and has signed on with record companies such as Sony, CNR Music and Time Records to distribute his music.

Besides PPAP, another possible track on the album is his most recent song, Neo Sunglasses, which bears his hallmark offbeat lyrics and dance moves.

The 56-second clip on YouTube has attracted more than 14 million views since it was released last month.