Saturday, January 05, 2008

Let's Learn Japanese: Maji Ureteru

Maji ureteru is a colloquial way of saying that a product or person is in high demand. Think of it as something like "selling like hotcakes," only less hokey.

Comedian Kojima Yoshio (小島よしお)is maji ureteru. I first saw him on TV last August and his popularity has been increasing ever since. Like many Japanese comedians, his brand of "comedy" relies heavily, if not exclusively, on a single gag. In the case of Mr. Kojima, that gag is showing up in a Speedo, dancing to some techno music and then chanting "Demo sonnano kankei neh!" ("But that's beside the point!") while pantomiming that he's repeatedly punching a fallen victim. Then he strikes a really sily pose and says the nonsense word oppappii.

It's Japan, anyway.

When asked during a satirical interview what "oppappii" means, Kojima offered that it's an acronym for "Ocean Pacific Peace." I'm pretty sure he just made that up on the spot for comedic purposes, but ever since then, that's been the official explanation of the meaning of "oppappii." Japan, being the impressionable nation it is, heard his explanation and ate it up in vast quantities.

In the past thirty days, Kojima Yoshio has begun appearing in a number of TV commercials, all of which feature him doing his "thing" with little variation. One commercial substitutes his "oppappii" with "kurisupii" (crispy). You get the idea.

Due to the ippatsu gei (one-gag comedy) nature of Kojima's performance, it's likely that he will end up in the metaphorical trash bin that is the final resting place for all comedians of his ilk. See also: Sakano Dandy and Hata Yoku. Will Kojima Yoshio suffer this fate? See for yourself and hazard a guess:

click for video

The link shows a relatively early TV appearance of Mr. Kojima. More recent appearances tend to dispense with the talking and get straight to the dancing.

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