Japan viral comedy song swops 'Pineapple-pen' for handwashing advice

Pikotaro repurposed the catchy hit to promote proper handwashing.
Pikotaro repurposed the catchy hit to promote proper handwashing.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - The Japanese comedian who stormed the world with his nonsense "Pineapple-pen" hit and even entertained US President Donald Trump is back with a new message: Wash your hands!

The entertainer known as Pikotaro grabbed a Guinness World Record in 2016 for his 45-second Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen or "PPAP" hit, which became the shortest song to break into the Billboard Hot 100.

And now, he has repurposed the catchy if bizarre hit to promote proper handwashing as the world battles the global coronavirus pandemic.

Dressed in his trademark garish animal print with a pencil-thin moustache, Pikotaro swops out his "I have a pen. I have an apple. Apple pen!" lyrics for "I have a hand. I have a soap. Wash! Wash! Wash! Wash!"

"Clean hand, clean hand," he adds, displaying his palms before pressing them together. "Pray for people and peace (PPAP)."

In just three days, the song has racked up more than three million views on YouTube, and the comedian's Twitter page has been flooded with videos of Japanese children laughing and imitating his handwashing dance.

"My three-year-old gets thrilled by Pikotaro's PPAP 2020. Let's wash hands," one amused parent wrote.

Pikotaro's 2016 hit became an Internet sensation after pop star Justin Bieber shared it as his "favourite video on the Internet".

It was viewed more than 67 million times within a few months after hitting YouTube and mimicked by children around the world, including Mr Trump's grandchildren.

Pikotaro was a surprise choice to entertain the United States President when he visited Japan in 2017.