Bottom Biting Bug Mania
The Bottom Biting Bug may have a rather unappealing name, but his mission is to improve society, and according to a Sankei Shimbun article (J) it seems to be working.
NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, first aired the unassuming anime character on “Minna no Uta” (“Song for Everybody”), a long-running 5-minute program showcasing a variety of songs. The show’s general audience is children, though people of all ages do watch it.
The husband-and-wife team “UrumaDerubi” dreamed up the helpful little critter and produced his entire debut song and dance number on their own—design of the Bottom Biting Bug, animation, songwriting, and singing. The idea was simple, if a little unusual: They feel that people in Japan these days just aren’t nosy enough, and wanted to do something about it.
In their opinion, people keep to themselves so much that nobody butts into the business of others anymore. They feel that encouraging people to be more nosy—and thus more connected to those around them—will do the world some good.
Because of this, the Bottom Biting Bug was born. The character is “kimo-kawaii” (icky-cute), the melody is simple and horribly catchy, and the plan seems to be working. As soon as it first aired in June, the song spread like wildfire among kindergarden and young elementary school students. Then their moms started noticing, and before long it was everywhere.
According to NHK, the cell phone ringtone has racked up over 11,000 downloads, more than anything else on the site. July 27th saw the release of a CD and DVD, picture books are in the works, and there’s talk of producing character goods.
For those wondering about the bug’s background, here’s the story: The Bug Biting Bug is a sort of fairy who is 18th in a long line of butt biters. The family line began in ancient Assyria (Iraq). In The Age of Geographical Discovery Bottom Biting Bug’s parents traveled to The Golden Country Zipang to bite gold butts. He speaks in a Kansai dialect because that’s where his parents were when he was born.
As for how his bites bring people together, apparently when he bites someone they feel the same sort of excitement as when they strike up a conversation with someone they don’t know. By reminding folks of the fun of spontaneously butting into others’ business, the Bottom Biting Bug does his part to help people connect.
We supplied some subtitles to the rather nonsensical lyrics (note that the lines that really don’t make sense are Japanese puns), so you can have a look yourself. Be warned, though: It’s maddeningly catchy, so it may be stuck in your head for quite a while.
November 15th, 2007 at 10:29 am
I was in Japan during the first week of November. I ran across this character and the song and was immediately enchanted by the little bugger. I brought back a few merchandise items; glad now I can explain to my friends what this little bug is all about!
November 17th, 2007 at 8:06 am
Living in Japan, I hear this song all the time on TV. The first time is amusing. Ater that, it’s irritating. I’ve heard it so many times, and it’s really beyond me why anyone would buy the single. The song gets very, very annoying after a short while.
November 21st, 2007 at 3:38 am
I bought this DVD/CD while on holiday in Tokyo during October. It’s really cool but now my 6 year old niece is addicted to it and has watched it about 97 times!!!
I hope he stars in a TV series soon.