If there’s one viral hit that many people will remember from 2016, it would be Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen (PPAP), a catchy, humorous clip produced by Japanese comedian and musician Piko-Taro. Barely over four months since it was first uploaded onto the performer’s YouTube channel on 25th August 2016, the original music video has already received over 150 million views as of 1st January 2017, securing a place for PPAP at the Japan Record Awards 2016. The prestigious ceremony has been described as the equivalent of the Grammy Awards for Japanese musicians and took place on the 30th of December 2016, honouring some of Japan’s biggest household names in the music industry.
Amongst others, singer-songwriter Utada Hikaru‘s album Fantôme, her latest release since her return from a five-year hiatus, was crowned Album of the Year, and one of her other songs received a nomination for Song of the Year (Grand Prix) alongside nine other artistes, including the iconic girl idol group AKB48 and fashion model-cum-singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Alternative rock band RADWIMPS also received particular mention for their work in producing the soundtrack album for Makoto Shinkai‘s critically acclaimed hit animated film Kimi no Na Wa (Your Name), alongside three other artistes receiving the Special Award. The ceremony also honours outstanding individuals and groups in all aspects of Japanese music, with awards for composition, best vocals, lyrics, arrangement and planning, while seeking to recognize up-and-coming newer acts who demonstrate clear potential in the Japanese music scene with a Best New Artist award.
For its unique character and unorthodox style defying conventional labels, Piko-Taro‘s PPAP track was awarded the Special Topic Award. And special it was indeed; what better way to honour a song known for its catchy nature than to perform an unexpectedly grand orchestral rendition of it?
It certainly ended the year with a bang – the video managed to catch the attention of and earn a place on humour website 9GAG! Not to mention, around the same time a traditional enka (演歌) twist to the PPAP video was also uploaded on YouTube by channel TEICHIKU RECORDS – don’t miss this rendition either!
We at J-Network congratulate all the award recipients at the Japan Record Awards 2016 and are looking forward to an even more exciting year for Japanese music in 2017.