“Paprika,” written by J-Pop star Kenshi Yonezu, was released and performed by a band of enthusiastic child singers called Foorin in the summer of 2018. The song was intended to show the city’s excitement for the upcoming Olympic Games, according to English-language Japanese news site SoraNews24.
The incredibly catchy song and easily doable choreography were a smash hit, climbing to No. 7 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 and staying in the top 10 for seven consecutive weeks, according to Billboard. After the earworm petered out on its rise up the Japanese charts, the video continued to rack up millions of views on YouTube. Hoping to continue the song’s reach, it was re-recorded with a group of English-speaking children, known as Foorin Team E, in an effort to mimic the song’s earlier success and help spread its message of “broaden[ing] the circle (of friendship) from kids in Japan to kids in the world”.
After the English-language version of the song was released on November 19, the infernally catchy song and the video with its slick Thriller-esque dance moves has gone viral, racking up views on YouTube. While the lyrics don’t make a lot of sense in English (“Paprika, when our flowers start to bloom”, for example) there’s no denying that it sticks with you.
According to SoraNews24, it is good news that the song is spreading. The song’s writer, Yonezu, said he will donate all of his royalties from the song to the Japan Sport Council’s Sports Promotion Fund, which supports young athletes. It’s the perfect way to get excited for the Olympics.