The Japanese Internet's Obsession with Bollywood Dances
One of the most popular memes on the Japanese internet is combining Japanese music with Bollywood dances.
This has been popular 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).
- The segment from 0:37 to 0:40 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 fittingly he’s spreading his arms
There are countless other Japanese videos like this.
In recent years, a central figure in creating these memes is もりもり (morimori).
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. All of the videos from India were manually identified.
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:
So it’s no surprise that the video for this song is the most popular video on the channel.
Original Song: YouTube
Original Video: Youtube
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!!
Interestingly, 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.
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.
Everything is just so random, yet so fitting.
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.
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.