Abe joins a viral trend, makes people cringe around the country. 

With Coronavirus cases now on a concerning upward trajectory in Japan, government officials are urging people to practice social distancing, using the English catchphrase “stay home”.

This weekend — the first since a state of emergency was declared for Tokyo and six other prefectures on 7 April — Prime Minister Abe took the opportunity to show everyone he practices what he preaches, by sharing a video of him staying home to his 1.8 million-plus followers on his official Twitter account.

The video took everyone by surprise, not only for the fact that it rides on the tails of a new stay-home song by hugely popular singer-songwriter Gen Hoshino, but because it shows Abe awkwardly acting out some indoor activities at home, like reading, sipping a beverage, watching T.V. and cuddling his dog.

Take a look at the video below:

Despite its awkwardness, the message from the Prime Minister here is an important one, intended for a young audience through the use of Hoshino, who can be seen singing his new song “Uchi de Odorou”, which literally translates to “Let’s Dance at Home”, in the video.

▼ Hoshino, who says he wasn’t aware of Abe’s video before it appeared online, debuted the song on his Instagram account on 3 April.

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家でじっとしていたらこんな曲ができました。  ”うちで踊ろう”  たまに重なり合うよな 僕ら 扉閉じれば 明日が生まれるなら 遊ぼう 一緒に  うちで踊ろう ひとり踊ろう 変わらぬ鼓動 弾ませろよ 生きて踊ろう 僕らそれぞれの場所で 重なり合うよ  うちで歌おう 悲しみの向こう 全ての歌で 手を繋ごう 生きてまた会おう 僕らそれぞれの場所で 重なり合えそうだ  #うちで踊ろう #星野源 #DancingOnTheInside  誰か、この動画に楽器の伴奏やコーラスやダンスを重ねてくれないかな?  “Dancing On The Inside”  We cross paths every once in a while If we close the door and tomorrow comes Let’s have fun together  Let’s dance on the inside Let’s dance on our own And just let our heartbeats loose as is Let’s live and dance We’ll cross paths in our own spaces  Let’s sing on the inside On the flip side of our sorrows Let’s link hands through all the songs we sing Let’s live and see each other again I get the feeling we’ll cross paths in our own spaces

A post shared by Gén Hoshino 星野源 (@iamgenhoshino) on

Since the original song debuted, Hoshino has been welcoming a number of collaborations from the public under the hashtag #うちで踊ろう (“Uchi de Odorou”) online. The hashtag has now gone viral, with photos of stay-home activities being shared by people — and characters — all around the country.

▼ The mascot for Shimane Prefecture, which had no cases of coronavirus until 9 April, sits at a low-heated table called a kotatsu…

▼ A geisha from Kyoto performs a traditional dance…

▼ And students from Tokyo’s Hitotsubashi University join in with some musical and physical accompaniment.

The Japanese Prime Minister was the latest in a long string of people to join the online trend, but unlike others, his version seemed to miss the mark, eliciting comments like:

“When will you provide proper financial support to people during the crisis?”
“I’m struggling to pay my rent and utilities at the moment and you’re lounging around at home?”
“This just makes me see Abe as an ordinary old man.”

“Please stop using Gen Hoshino. You’re ruining the song.”
“I didn’t know he had a dog?!”

While a number of commenters spent their time gushing over the Prime Minister’s dog, others hoped the “stay home” message from Abe doesn’t fall on deaf ears. Still, regardless of whether or not the awkward scenes were a deliberate attempt at humour, they certainly managed to get everyone’s attention and, strangely, it might even get more people to join the viral trend and practice what we all need to be doing right now: staying home.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Top image: Twitter/@AbeShinzo
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