Pocari shows they’re the kings of both sports hydration and sentimentality — and want other school kids to get singing, too.

The global spread of COVID-19 has resulted in lots of us staying home to “flatten the curve” — limiting social contact in order to reduce the spread of the virus and ease the burden on health workers by. A number of public services have been forced to continue as best they can while staying at home, but city schools are finding the shift to social distancing tricky.

Students, too, have been kept from their daily dose of in-person socializing, extracurricular clubs, and sports teams. So sports drink Pocari Sweat’s recent ad starring a choir of sheltering-in-place junior and high school students has hit a resounding chord across the nation.

▼ Pocari Sweat presents “Bokura no Uta” (“Our Own Song”)

The video starts with up-and-coming teen celebrity Yuki Shiotani doing some vocal warm-ups, but she’s quickly joined by a legion of other voices; each dressed in their junior high or high school uniforms, filming themselves with phones angled on selfie-sticks, precariously balanced make-shift tripods or just their own hands.

▼ Shiotani strikes an all too familiar pose while checking her image in the camera.

As their individual voices overlap and harmonize, a piano enters the mix; and each of the video’s many vocalists belts out their part in their bedroom before moving to their veranda. The quick cuts from face-to-face create a wonderful sense of unity and cohesion, even while all its key players are kept far apart.

▼ Pocari calls this method of combining individual singing voices a “Neo-Chorus”.

As the song draws to a close, and the words “turn your thirst into power” form over their impassioned faces, each singer raises their phone camera up to the sky — which forms a perfect blue background for the Pocari Sweat logo.

Naturally, ensuring everyone’s voices dovetail perfectly is tough enough when all the singers are in one place. Pocari Sweat’s manufacturer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, uploaded a short behind-the-scenes movie to demonstrate how the footage for the video was filmed. In it you can see the singers comment on their favorite parts of the song and the feedback they received, like needing to emote more as they sing or be careful not to trip over lyrics.

But they aren’t satisfied with just one Neo-Chorus! Pocari’s website is accepting submissions through TikTok for more takes on Bokura no Uta, and they’ve already amassed a wealth of incredible isolated content from both the regular public and a variety of celebrities. Whether you’re singing by yourself or as part of a socially-distanced team, they want to hear your voice — so long as you’re a Japanese resident of school-going age, and have your parents’ permission. If not, you can still support the campaign by following them on social media and boosting your favorite entrants.

▼ Online acapella choir Rio joins the fun…

▼ …As does the high school pop duo, Sushi Musume

Here’s the lyrics if you’d like to sing along at home!

Homu rumu
Nicchoku dare na no
Toppu News

Kiritsu, rei, natta chime
Kaeri ni yorimichi konbini
Tawaimonai hanashi nanjikan mo suru?
Ki ni naru aitsu no stori wo loop
Kako da to ka, shourai wa da to ka
Torima tadashii kao de enjikiru
Break down!


To-shi-toka bakkari
Mada emosa wa harahachibunme
Ato wa ni-wari? Tarinee
Boku dake no uta wo utawasekure

Ima shika nai
Kono isshun wa
Ima wo ikiteiru
Bokura no uta

Ima da
Ima da
Ima da
Ima nan da
Bokura no uta

*This section comes from Aogeba Toutoshi or With an Eternally Grateful Soul, a classic graduation song for Japan.

And here’s an English translation, just in case you needed an extra injection of emotion:

Alarm clock
Off to school
“Who’s on day duty?” is today’s headline

Stand up, bow, then the bell chimes
Stop off at the convenience store on the way home
While away the hours with silly chit-chat
We talk about the friend we’re worried about on an endless loop
The past, the future, all that
Anyway, time to sing the breakdown with a professional face:

“How fast the years fly by…”

That’s the best you can do?
You’re not giving it all the emotion you’ve got
You’ll give another 20% this time? Still not enough
Let me sing my own song, just for me

This one moment
Is the only chance we get
Right now it’s thriving
Our own song

It’s gotta be now
Sing it out loud
Our own song

We hope all our readers but especially those of school-going age take a little joy in this video, and stay as safe as you canwhether your schools are open or closed!

Related: Pocari Neo-Chorus Campaign
Source: Otsuka Pharmaceutical, YouTube/大塚製薬 公式チャンネル (1,2)
Images: YouTube/大塚製薬 公式チャンネル
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[ Read in Japanese ]