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The Japanese Internet's Obsession with Bollywood Dances

The unexpected Japanese art of combining Japanese Music with Bollywood Dances

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My favorite meme on the Japanese internet is combining Japanese music with Bollywood dances.

via GIPHY

This has been a popular meme in Japan for years. From Know Your Meme:

Bollywood Movie Dance Remixes are series of parody videos which dub pop music, mainly anime theme songs, over the dance scenes taken from Indian, or Bollywood films. The sharpness of Indian movie dancing has been a popular visual resource for parody videos on the Japanese video sharing service Nico Nico Douga (NND) since 2007.

For example, this is the Attack on Titan Opening combined with Bollywood (This video was originally posted on niconico).

Doesn’t the song fit perfectly?

Some notes:

  • The segment from 0:37 to 0:40 is fits perfectly in every way
  • Even mouth movements match at so many points in the video
  • At 0:45, they say 「自由を」(jiyuu wo) which means freedom1 and he's spreading his arms which seems fitting

There are countless other Japanese videos like this.

In recent years, a central figure in creating these memes is もりもり (morimori):

もりもり
この度は当チャンネルの概要欄を閲覧していただき誠にありがとうございます。少しだけ自己紹介させてください。「もりもり」と申します。本名に森が付く関係で学生時代からあだ名が「もりもり」だったので、そのままこの名前で活動しています。年齢は20代後半で、普段は会社員として働いています。宝くじで3億円以上当たったら仕事辞めようと思ってます。趣味は音楽鑑賞、映画鑑賞、ゲーム、釣り、etc..... このチャンネルでは、日本のアーティストの楽曲を海外の方のダンス動画等に合体させる、いわゆるシンクロや音ハメと言われる事を行なっております。高度な編集の技術は無いので、PCは使用せず、スマホで編集し…

Morimori combines Japanese music with random videos—ranging from Western TikTok videos to Bollywood dances and Indian music videos.

Here is a plot of every video on Morimori's channel with the views on the x axis and the likes on the y axis:

The data was acquired on April 29, 2021 using the tuber package. I manually identified all of the videos from India, so it is possible that I missed some.

We can see that some very popular videos on this channel are Bollywood dances.

The following graph displays only the Bollywood videos:

See the end of this post to find a table with every song

Many of the songs are either anime openings/endings or songs popular among young people.

For example, on the top right is YOASOBI's Yoru ni Kakeru, which is the most streamed song in Japan ever:

Oricon

So it's no surprise that the video for this song is the most popular video on the channel.

Japanese Music + Bollywood Dance => Perfectly Synchronized Meme

Meme:

Original Song:

YOASOBI "Racing into the Night" Official Music Video (Became age restricted so watch on YouTube)

Original Video:

This Bollywood dance video is actually a commercial for a Japanese company. From the video's description:

Japanese traditional snack company challenged to produce a Bollywood dance style promotional video/CM, starring Akshat Singh from India's Got Talent, directed by Takahiro Akiyama (Japan), Co directed and choreographed by Jasmin Oza (India). Check out the Akshat's intriguing dance and facial expression!!

I found it interesting that the meme has (very roughly) 1/10 the views of the official music video, and the commercial has roughly 1/10 the views of the meme.

The following is a Bollywood video that was used by Morimori. There are many Japanese comments on the video because they wanted to see the original.

Source of GIF at the beginning of this post

Paraphrasing some Japanese comments:

Japan-India relations are improving without either of the governments knowing
I'm so used to Morimori's Tachiagariyo Video (link) that the original song feels less natural, haha

You can also find Indians who noticed the Japanese comments on this video and visited the Tachiagariyo Video on Morimori's channel.


Besides the popular memes that Morimori has been making, there are a few videos that have been used numerous times by over the years.

The following video is one such example, and it currently has over 3 million views with mostly Japanese viewers.


I already knew that these kinds of memes are very popular in Japan, but it was interesting to actually look at the data.

Everything is just so random but so fitting.

Table

These are all of the songs on the scatter plot above—ordered by view count, with links to Morimori's video for that particular song.

Date Song Views
2020-06-24 YOASOBI - Yoru ni Kakeru 14211550
2020-06-18 T-Pistonz - Tachiagariyo (Inazuma Eleven OP) 5003307
2020-07-10 Official Hige Dandism - Yesterday 1479633
2020-06-25 Ojamajo Carnival!! 1171341
2020-06-18 Ojamajo Carnival!! 690011
2020-07-26 ZUTOMAYO - Teiketsu Bolt 589369
2020-09-16 YOASOBI - Gunjou 394398
2020-06-18 T-Pistonz+KMC - Super Tachiagariyo (Inazuma Eleven OP) 388579
2020-12-22 ALI - LOST IN PARADISE (Jujutsu Kaisen ED) 288663
2020-07-30 ZUTOMAYO - Teiketsu Bolt 280159
2020-11-22 […]Santen Leader - Gemini8 253842
2020-10-14 LiSA - Gurenge (Demon Slayer OP) 244825
2021-01-12 Ojamajo Carnival!! 215201
2021-04-02 YOASOBI - Sangenshoku 175020
2021-01-05 YOASOBI - Kaibutsu (BEASTARS OP) 170311
2020-12-03 Eve - Kaikai Kitan (Jujutsu Kaisen OP) 148039
2021-01-15 Sakanaction - Shin Takarajima 109883
2020-07-15 Tsunoda Ryoko & Sugita Akihiro - Supurapi Supurapa 106785
2021-03-28 Sakanaction - Shin Takarajima 99953
2021-02-14 BotchiBoromaru - Aburabu Katabura LinLinLin 86126
2020-08-24 Sakanaction - Music 85344
2021-02-25 necchi - Cynthia 77315
2021-03-27 LYRIC YANKEE - Shall We Dope? 70706
2021-03-20 Bad Dance Hall 55865
2021-02-02 Reol - LUVORATORRRRRY! 51938
2021-03-30 ZUTOMAYO - Kan Saete Kuyashiiwa 51518
2021-04-02 Momoclo Tei Ichimon (Momoiro Clover Z) - Nippon Egao Hyakkei 40461

Footnotes

1: 自由 (jiyuu) by itself means freedom. を(wo) is a particle, and the translation will likely be different depending on the context. Because I could not find official translations of the lyrics, I just said "Freedom" without figuring out the appropriate translation for を in this context.

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